J. Crew reopens hundreds of stores with coronavirus safety protocols

Bankruptcy may close dozens of J. Crew stores permanently

J. Crew Group has reopened more than 300 of its 500 stores that were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The retailer’s phased reopening began with a seven-store pilot last month. Another 171 J. Crew locations reopened Friday, bringing the total number of reopened stores to 315. However, dozens of J. Crew stores may close for good as a result of its ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.

A window display at a J Crew store overlooks a quiet Rockefeller Center, Saturday, May 2, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

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J. Crew has been reopening stores with new safety protocols in place which it said are in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The New York-based company said in a statement Friday that it’s “taking a careful and deliberate approach to its store reopenings.”

The reopenings have allowed J. Crew to return most of its furloughed store workers, according to the company. It has also added about 400 new positions at its Lynchburg, Virginia, distribution center as a result of increased demand online.

A J. Crew sign hangs in front of their store at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets shopping mall in Central Valley, New York. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

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J. Crew’s online business had “continued sales momentum that was increasing even before stores were closed during the pandemic,” the company said in a statement.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection early last month. The chain had reportedly been struggling even before pandemic closures forced it under too much financial strain.

J.Crew fashion store in New York. (iStock)

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J. Crew is working with its landlords on “improving store lease terms” as part of its restructuring process. The company has filed notice with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to reject 67 of its store leases, unless it can reach better terms with the landlords.

“J.Crew Group continues to have productive discussions with landlords regarding lease terms that will further inform its real estate optimization strategy,” the company said in a statement.

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