As early as July 2020, nearly 73,000 businesses across the United States have permanently shuttered, and their employees left jobless, many presumably without the protection of severance pay and health insurance. Fast forward to March 2021, and there seems to be little light at the end of the tunnel, particularly for the most adversely affected industries.
According to Yelp’s research, the restaurant industry has been the hardest hit, with more than 15,700 restaurants permanently closed. The shopping and retail, bars and nightlife establishments, beauty and spas, and fitness have also been feeling the crunch despite their best efforts. The retail industry, for example, has shifted to online ordering, curbside pickup, and other no-contact methods, but these aren’t enough for the long-term haul.
Hollywood and its cinema chains, iconic department stores, and schools have suffered losses and closures in nearly the same manner, proof that the coronavirus pandemic can be an equalizer of sort. Unfortunately, many businesses and establishments have been experiencing financial issues even before the pandemic hit, but their precarious situation worsened. Many, such as the schools, were forced to close ahead of schedule.
Bankruptcies have also been widespread, with even the largest corporations not being spared. The notable examples include Furniture Factory Outlet, Lord & Taylor, and Brooks Brothers, which have first filed for bankruptcy before announcing their permanent closure. Of course, bankruptcy doesn’t automatically result in the company going out of business, but the changes are typically significant.
Let’s look at the well-known names across different industries that have been changed due to COVID-19. By change, we mean permanent closure of either the entire company or parts of its operations like branches, locations, or shows.
- #1 Cirque du Soleil
- #2 Tenet Healthcare Corporation
- #3 Williamson Memorial Hospital
- #4 Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center
- #5 Marriott Wardman Park
- #6 The Standard Hotel West Hollywood
- #7 Omni Berkshire Place
- #8 Roosevelt Hotel
- #9 Coliseum V
- #10 Cinemagic
- #11 Cinema 9
- #12 AMC Theaters – Hamilton Township
- #13 Regal Fiesta 16 – San Antonio
- #14 20th Street Café
- #15 K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen
- #16 Trans States Airlines
- #17 Compass Airlines
- #18 Highland Fitness
- #19 Gold’s Gym
- #20 MacMurray College
- #21 Urbana University
- #22 Holy Family College
- #23 Cristo Rey Newark High School
- #24 Fry’s Electronics
- #25 Godiva Chocolatier
- #26 Lord & Taylor
- #27 Sur La Table
- #28 Stein Mart
- #29 L’Occitane
- #30 Quest Diagnostics
#1 Cirque du Soleil
The entertainment industry is one of the hardest-hit industries because of the strict restrictions on crowds and gatherings in enclosed spaces. Even the famous Cirque du Soleil, the entertainment and acrobatics group known for its death-defying yet fascinating shows, filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy on June 20, 2020.
The Canada-based company’s financial restructuring was attributed to pandemic-related cancellations of shows and closures of venues. Sadly, nearly 3,500 of its employees were laid off after a furlough period.
The layoffs were part of the permanent closure of Cirque du Soleil’s iconic show, Zumanity, the resident cabaret-style show at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. First previewed on August 14, 2003, with its formal unveiling on September 20, it was the first adult-themed show that showcased Cirque du Soleil’s sensual side. Dominic Champagne and René Richard Cyr created it as a departure from the company’s typical family-friendly format, thus focusing on eroticism in dance, song, acrobatics, and even comedy.
The last Zumanity performance was on March 14, 2020, or just a few days before the United States’ pandemic. After 17 years of success, its permanent closure was announced in November 2020. Cirque du Soleil also suspended its shows in Las Vegas and other venues worldwide since March 14, 2020.
#2 Tenet Healthcare Corporation
We would think that the healthcare sector will be the last to declare pandemic-related bankruptcies and closures! After all, its people are on the frontlines of the battle. But this isn’t the case, and Tenet Healthcare was among the notable examples with its announcement of furlough for approximately 10% of its workforce on April 15, 2020. This meant about 11,000 of its more than 113,000 employees were furloughed.
The Dallas, Texas-based multinational healthcare services company also announced its plans to sell or close its last four MedPost urgent care centers in Metropolitan Detroit, Michigan. Its agreements with First Choice Urgent Care to sell three of its urgent care centers in Livonia, Southfield and Bloomfield in Michigan had also been finalized last year. The closure of its Rochester Hills, Michigan MedPost urgent care center was completed in December.
Tenet Healthcare operates about 500 non-hospital healthcare facilities and 65 hospitals across the U.S. and Conifer Health Solutions.
#3 Williamson Memorial Hospital
While many large hospitals in urban areas like New Orleans, Detroit, and New York City are being overwhelmed with a deluge of COVID-19 cases, many rural hospitals have suffered from the opposite – a sharp, sudden, and severe decline patient volume. This is exactly what happened to Williamson Memorial Hospital, a 76-bed hospital in Williamson, West Virginia, filed for Chapter 11 in October 2019.
By April 2020, its thin profit margins eventually resulted in its permanent closure on April 21, 2020. The significant drop in patient volume caused by the coronavirus pandemic was among the primary reasons for its forced closure. According to its former CEO Gene Preston, it was just “too sudden and severe” that operations cannot be sustained anymore.
Williamson Memorial Hospital was the only hospital in Mingo County, and it was the only hospital in the 2,800-inhabitant rugged Appalachian coal country town. While there were no COVID-19 cases treated in it, the 23,400-inhabitant Mingo County has a few confirmed cases.
#4 Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center
Yet another casualty of the pandemic was the Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center in Cuthbert, Georgia. The 25-bed critical access hospital opened in 1947 and was among the vital healthcare facilities in Randolph County. Emphasis must be made that Randolph County has one of the highest per-capita coronavirus infection rates in Georgia and, thus, its closure has a substantial impact on the community.
The rural hospital was already in financial trouble even before the pandemic hit, and its money issues worsened afterward. Nothing else could be done except close its doors after 73 years of operations. The closure occurred in October 2020, a point of no return that left hundreds of its employees without jobs.
Many people gathered in front of the hospital to say goodbye to the hospital, a fitting tribute to an institution that once cared for the community.
#5 Marriott Wardman Park
Yet another iconic Washington, D.C. institution has closed its doors for good, no thanks to the effects of the pandemic. Marriot Wardman Park, which was opened in 1918, was a 1,152-room convention hotel that housed social and political luminaries, including Lyndon Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower, and Herbert Hoover, among others.
Wardman Hotel Owner LLC, its owner, temporarily closed it on March 27, 2020, in keeping with pandemic-related restrictions. By mid-January 2021, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. It also announced its decision to sell the property as part of a reorganization plan and the severance of its management agreement with Marriott International Inc after a feud.
About 600 of its nearly 1,000 employees are part of its union, UNITE HERE Local 25. Employees will receive a total severance package worth approximately $11 million, and it will include severance pay, health insurance, and vacation pay.
#6 The Standard Hotel West Hollywood
Even its glamorous celebrity clientele couldn’t have stopped the final closure of The Standard Hotel in West Hollywood. Located on the Sunset Strip, it was among the latest in a string of hotel closures across the country – its operations officially ceased on January 22, 2021, after more than 22 years in business.
The announcement was made through Instagram, proof that the hotel was keeping up with the times, and the statement read in part, “Despite 22 years of unconditional love for our hotel, our guests, our team and our community, the hotel was unable to prevent a significant increase to its lease, which makes operating the property impossible.”
The Standard WeHo was not only famous for its celebrity clientele and backers, which included Benicio del Toro, Cameron Diaz, and Leonardo DiCaprio, but for its fabulous design, pool scene, and nightlife with memorable musical performances. Indeed, it was the place to see and be seen in West Hollywood, a place where celebrity sightings are common.
#7 Omni Berkshire Place
Another COVID-19 casualty in New York City is the Omni Berkshire Palace, a dignified brick and limestone building designed by Warren & Wetmore and opened in 1926. It was part of a network of Classical Revival residential buildings and hotels around Grand Central Terminal, and it was among the easily recognizable part of the Big Apple landscape until its permanent closure in June 2020.
Its claim to fame was its connection to Rogers and Hammerstein writing their legendary musical, Oklahoma, in one of its opulent suites; it was later known as the Rodgers and Hammerstein Suite. Many celebrities from the art and entertainment world have also been known to be regulars, including Alfred Hitchcock, Ethel Merman, and Frank Sinatra.
But a storied history doesn’t pay the bills, and it was temporarily closed in early 2020, resulting in the layoffs of all its employees. Just a few months later, Omni announced the permanent closure of Berkshire Palace, with TRT Holdings retaining its ownership over the property.
But Berkshire Palace isn’t the only Big Apple casualty – Z Hotel NYC, The Maxwell, and Edition Times Square have also gone under for good.
#8 Roosevelt Hotel
While the series of closures of hotels in the Big Apple hit the economy, the closure of Roosevelt Hotel hit closer to home – and the heart – because it was an institution for nearly a hundred years! The Midtown hotel on East 45th Street first opened in 1924 and quickly became a Midtown skyline fixture and the host to many historical moments. Such is its prestige that it has been used as a location in many movies, including Maid in Manhattan, The Dictator, and Man on a Ledge.
The Roosevelt Hotel permanently closed its doors in mid-December 2020 due to the sudden and severe revenue losses. Marc Sternagel, its general manager, informed the local government of its closure in an email. The reason stated was the current pandemic’s adverse impact on its operations.
More than 400 employees have become unemployed due to the closure after an initial furlough in March 2020. The management, however, announced the closure in October 2020. Pakistan International Airlines is the current owner of the 1,000-room hotel named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt.
#9 Coliseum V
Entertainment venues have also been affected by the shelter-at-home, no-crowd restrictions imposed across the country in light of the pandemic. Coliseum V, an entertainment venue and bar in Charlotte, North Carolina, was a 13,000-square-foot facility that offered a wide range of entertainment options for children and adults. These included virtual reality and arcade games, archery and laser tag, and self-serve beer, making Coliseum V one-of-a-kind in the city.
Coliseum V was only opened in September 2019, which means it was operational for just over a year before permanently closing in November 2020. The yard sale may have been one of the saddest for its owner!
Across the country, many more entertainment venues closed their doors, too. Coin-Op Game Room, an arcade bar and restaurant in San Francisco, California, permanently shuttered. This meant its patrons could no longer enjoy its delicious food and drinks, its speakeasy, and its 10-player arcade game known as the Killer Queen.
Cinemas have also closed their doors due to the pandemic, with even the largest chains on the brink of bankruptcy. This was the case for Cinemagic, a New Hampshire-based movie theater company that permanently closed all its franchised locations. According to its owner, Zyacorp Entertainment, there are no plans for reopening these cinemas.
In its statement, the company thanked its Cinemagicians, who have been with them over the past couple of decades, for bringing the magic of movies into their lives. The chain included theaters in Merrimack, Portsmouth, Hooksett in New Hampshire; Salisbury and Sturbridge in Massachusetts; and Westbrook, Saco, and South Portland in Maine. While many of its theaters reopened last summer, the scarcity of new movies being released and the small crowds braving the risk sealed the deal for their final closure.
Many other cinema chains have temporarily closed with the plan of reopening them when the situation allows it. But it seems to be a game of wait-and-see before these locations also permanently say goodbye.
#11 Cinema 9
California is among the states with high infection rates resulting in the closure of many establishments. The Santa Cruz Cinema 9 is among the latest to permanently close its doors, and it’s been a sign of the industry’s times. First opened in 1995, it was built to attract people to the Santa Cruz downtown area after the devastation caused by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
Regal purchased it in 2004, and it continued to be a popular entertainment hub in the area until the pandemic hit. The theater was temporarily closed in October 2020 when Cineworld, Regal’s corporate parent, announced a temporary suspension of operations in all its 536 theaters across the U.S. Former employees of the now-defunct Cinema 9 had been offered reassignment to other Regal locations.
#12 AMC Theaters – Hamilton Township
There will be no movies at the AMC Theatres in Hamilton Township, Mercer County in New Jersey. The AMC Hamilton 24 Theatre closed its doors to moviegoers on November 8, 2020, although it has already been closed – temporarily at the time – since the shelter-at-home orders were given. The ongoing pandemic was cited as a common thread in the cinema industry among the reasons for its closure.
AMC also stated that landlord issues were also at the heart of the closure, which included global agreements with one of its notable landlord partners, EPR Properties.
#13 Regal Fiesta 16 – San Antonio
The giants are falling, too, and one of the latest casualties is the Regal Fiesta 16 dollar theater. It was once the largest movie house in San Antonio, Texas, and was popular for its diverse movie offerings. According to Weingarten Realty, which owns the Fiesta Trails shopping center where the cineplex was once housed, the building will be repurposed.
Real Fiesta 16 was an eye-catching theater with its red pillars, Eiffel-like central entrance, and colorful façade, but it was no match for the pandemic. Its location at 12631 Vance Jackson Road also made it accessible to moviegoers, a vital consideration when it was first opened in 1996 as part of Northwest San Antonio’s development plans at the time. It was also notable for having the city’s highest number of screens and for its pioneering stadium seating on its opening.
But it gradually lost its appeal partly because it transitioned from a movie theater with first-run flicks on the show to a dollar theater with older movies. The aging property also didn’t sit well with moviegoers who were more attracted to the swankier cinemas. Its time has come, and the pandemic just pushed it ahead of schedule.
#14 20th Street Café
The Okuno family, the owner of 20th Street Cafe, was forced to permanently close their business after 74 years and three generations of management. The neighborhood establishment served breakfast and lunch, including its famous blueberry pancakes, to its happy customers until its current owners, Rodney and Karen Okuno, announced the closure in late March 2020. While it has survived many ups and downs, the pandemic became too insurmountable for the well-loved restaurant.
The permanent closure was swift, too, since the Okunos temporarily closed it on March 27 before finally throwing in the towel.
But it isn’t just this café that was forced to permanently shut its doors! In California, Biba Restaurant in Sacramento closed after 33 years of operations on May 8, 2020; and Hakkasan in San Francisco, an upscale 170-seat restaurant with a renowned Chinese menu, also stopped serving its delicious black truffle duck and black cod with champagne in May 2020. Other closed restaurants are Anne and Bill’s in Forest Park, Georgia; Markovski’s Family Restaurant in Dearborn Heights, Michigan; and Blackbird in Chicago, Illinois.
#15 K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen
The legendary status of K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen deserves a specific mention! Opened by renowned chef Paul Prudhomme in 1979, It was a highly influential Cajun restaurant with bold and vibrant dishes like blackened redfish. Such was its popularity that lines formed outside of the restaurant every night, and it was a bucket-list destination for tourists in New Orleans.
In 2020, the restaurant was closed and reopened several times, but its permanent closure was announced on July 13 of the same year. According to its management, it was “bleeding” through the pandemic, and it can “only bleed so much” before it must be stopped.
Restaurant closures have become a pandemic of their own, too, with a Yelp economic impact report released in 2020 highlighting the closure of more than 57,000 restaurants – and counting in 2021 – across the nation. Notable examples include Craigie Burger, a place known for its limited-edition epic burger in Boston, and The Table at Season to Taste, a restaurant ran by Carl Dooley in Cambridge.
#16 Trans States Airlines
The airline industry took a beating, too, with air travel drastically reduced during the pandemic. Among the earliest casualties was Trans States Airlines, a regional airline based in Missouri with routes for United. The airlines used Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets in their flights.
But the airline was already being planned for shutdown by the end of 2020, the plan being a consolidation of its operations with another regional carrier under the United Express brand, ExpressJet Airlines. The stated reason was the shortage of pilots. With the unforeseen impact of the ongoing pandemic, its operations prematurely ceased on April 1, 2020, a permanent closure announced by its CEO through a memo to employees.
#17 Compass Airlines
Close on the heels of Trans States Airlines was Compass Airlines, which stopped its Delta Connection flights on April 1, 2020, and then its American Eagle flights on April 7, 2020. Compass Airlines was also a subsidiary of Trans States Holdings, which owned Trans States Airlines.
Like its sister company, it was also set to wind down operations in late 2020 while also looking for another airline willing to enter into a replacement agreement. The pressures of the pandemic accelerated its end, too. Nonetheless, this wasn’t as jarring as one would think, considering that regional carriers were already facing financial and staffing issues even before COVID-19 came to the U.S.
Compass Airlines and Trans States Airlines were also affected by the slashing of their domestic capacity – up to 80% in May 2020 – a decision made by American Airlines under the American Eagle brand. With significant reductions in domestic capacity came less demand for regional contract airlines.
#18 Highland Fitness
Indoor exercise, particularly in gyms and fitness centers, has resulted in clusters of coronavirus infections. This was true even when these facilities adopted coronavirus safety measures, including wearing masks, social distancing, and upgraded filtration and disinfection systems. The result: Most, if not all, gyms and fitness centers have announced temporary closures since early 2020.
But many facilities have announced their permanent closure, including Swabek’s Highland Fitness, a fitness center in Louisville, Kentucky. On August 15, 2020, its permanent shuttering was announced on its business website while it was closed temporarily. Among the reasons stated were the decreased revenue and increased expenses that resulted in unsustainable operations.
Many of its fitness equipment have been posted for sale on its Facebook page, too.
But it isn’t the first and last to suffer under the pandemic, with many more gyms either facing bankruptcy or permanent closure. Examples include YogaWorks, 24 Hour Fitness, and Gold’s Gym.
#19 Gold’s Gym
New Jersey’s coronavirus toll is nearly 24,000 deaths, and hundreds of businesses have closed their doors, too. Gold’s Gym in Howell will be closing its doors for the final time on March 25, 2020, in an announcement made via its Facebook page. According to Mark Steinfield, its owner, “Unfortunately, it saddens me to say Gold’s Gym Howell has become another casualty,” and it’s yet another proof that not even the most recognized fitness brand is immune to the pandemic’s effects.
Opened 32 years ago, Gold’s Gym Howell was a recognizable part of the landscape, too. While New Jersey allowed the reopening of non-essential businesses on September 1, 2020, with the condition of 25% capacity only, it wasn’t enough. The substantial decrease in revenue combined with the continuing expenses was just too much.
Clients with existing accounts were provided with prorated adjustments to counter the loss in services and referred for transfer of membership to other branches.
#20 MacMurray College
With schools closing on all levels, known as the coronavirus spring in an article, starting in late February 2020, many colleges and universities were unable to keep up with the times. While many of these educational institutions were already experiencing pre-pandemic issues, the pandemic worsened their situation and quickened their closure.
Among these schools was MacMurray College, a 500-strong private liberal arts school in Jacksonville, Illinois, founded in 1846. It weathered The Great Depression, World War I, World War II, and the Great Recession but couldn’t help but close its doors during the pandemic. Many pre-pandemic issues were besetting it, including decreasing enrolment, rising competitive costs, and a small $15 million endowment, but its management had a survival plan.
And then came the pandemic that made it superfluous, which resulted in the college’s announcement on March 27, 2020, of its permanent closure by May 2020.
#21 Urbana University
Ohio’s Urbana University has also closed its doors for the final time in May 2020 after the spring semester. While an online petition was made to stop it, there doesn’t appear to be any hope in sight due to the university’s pre-pandemic issues. When its closure was announced in April 2020, school officials stated that it was due to several years of decline in enrollment and the pandemic’s challenges.
Urbana University, then a branch of Franklin University in Columbus, had more than 100 full-time employees and 1,254 students at its closure. Franklin University bought it in 2014, which saved it from financial collapse due to poor fiduciary decisions resulting in its significant debt. But it was a futile move since many more issues undermined its financial stability.
Most of its students were enrolled in distance learning programs, including College Credit Plus, while the rest – about 350 – were commuter and residential students. Transfers to Franklin University and other schools were made possible.
#22 Holy Family College
Founded in 1885, Holy Family College was a private Catholic liberal arts college in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Like many in the education sector, its permanent closure was also attributed to the pandemic’s effects on enrollment.
While it closed in late August 2020, its employees, students, and stakeholders were already informed as early as May 2020. Aside from the dip in enrollment, its management also cited increased expenses due to its closure.
This wasn’t surprising as private colleges heavily rely on a stable and steady revenue flow from tuition, fees, and other charges for their continued operations. The fundraising challenges when many families are struggling with underemployment and unemployment while donors are rethinking their priorities have also contributed to its downfall.
#23 Cristo Rey Newark High School
Even high school institutions aren’t being spared! Cristo Rey Newark High School, a private Catholic high school in Newark, New Jersey, announced its permanent closure on May 7, 2020. Opened in 2007 with a 100-strong initial freshman class, it’s part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. The archdiocese has also announced its decision to permanently close nine other schools, including St. Genevieve School in Elizabeth, the Academy of St. Therese of Lisieux in Cresskill, and St. James the Apostle School in Springfield.
In an official statement, officials asserted that the permanent closures weren’t directly linked to the pandemic’s impact on the education sector and economy. But the pandemic undermined the schools’ already shaky financial position and, thus, resulted in their earlier-than-expected demise. Among the reasons cited was the declining enrollment that resulted in decreased revenues for the schools.
#24 Fry’s Electronics
While many electronics retailers kept a certain number of their physical stores open, Fry’s Electronics has gone to the end! On February 24, 2021, the chain of electronic stores announced its decision to shut down operations in all of its stores nationwide, effective immediately. According to its press release, it was “a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The San Francisco-based company was known as a big-box retailer with a cult following Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, DIY tech fans, and ordinary consumers looking for great buys. It also blamed its shutdown on its inability to compete with Amazon, the online behemoth that has arguably benefited from the pandemic more than any other retailer.
Fry’s Electronics was founded by the Fry brothers in 1985 and had more than 30 locations in nine states. Its emphasis was on being the one-stop-shop for high-tech enthusiasts and professionals.
Yet another big-name retailer that continues to be affected by the pandemic is Best Buy. As of February 2021, its workforce has been reduced by 17% – or 21,000 employees – since the year before. It’s also planning to close more stores this year and strengthen its online presence, a move in keeping with the rise in the popularity of online shopping.
#25 Godiva Chocolatier
Life isn’t sweet for the owners and employees of Godiva Chocolatier as it announced its closure by March 2021 last January 2021. All of its 128 physical stores in the U.S. and Canada will be closed, a sad event that the company states were due to declining store traffic, among other factors. The drop in sales resulted from a decline in in-store shopping and the radical shift in consumer habits because of the pandemic.
But it’s only the North American stores that will be closed. If you have a craving for or an addiction to Godiva’s luscious chocolates, you can order them through the godiva.com website. Godiva also kept its brick-and-mortar stores in the Middle East, Greater China, and Europe open for business, as well as open cafes offering chocolates, coffee, and baked goods worldwide in the next six years.
#26 Lord & Taylor
Not even the prestige of being the oldest department store in the U.S. can save Lord & Taylor from the vagaries of the pandemic! Started as a dry goods store in Manhattan in 1824, the chain consisted of 38 brick-and-mortar locations and an outlet store in August 2019. Its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in the Big Apple was closed in 2019.
Currently owned by Le Tote as a subsidiary, Lord & Taylor filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on August 2, 2020, due to the effects of the pandemic. On August 27, it announced its asset liquidation plan that included a sale to the Saadia Group in October 2020. Saadia Group, in turn, announced that it would transform the brand into an exclusively online business by March 2021.
Gone are the days when the American Beauty Rose symbol dominated the retail market, but it’s a 195-year retail history that made its mark.
#27 Sur La Table
On July 8, 2020, Sur La Table filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection that also signaled the closure of 56 of its more than 125 physical stores. Based in Seattle, Washington, it’s known for its French-inspired luxury cookware as well as for its cooking lessons in selected locations. Proof of the finality of the closure: There have been many going-out-of-business liquidation sales in its former stores.
Great American Group, Tiger Capital Group, and SB360 Capital Partners managed these liquidation sales, which included up to 30% in discounts. Marquee Brands and CSC Generation have bought the remaining stores that haven’t closed yet. Over 55 Sur La Table will remain open in the U.S.
#28 Stein Mart
Founded in 1908, off-price retailer Stein Mart hasn’t been immune to the shift in consumers’ shopping habits. On August 13, 2020, its management announced its decision to “close a significant portion, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores.” This meant 279 of its 281 locations in 30 states were closed and subjected to the liquidation process.
The move was also part of Stein Mart’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Its going-out-sale business sales started within the week its plans were announced, too, although the closing dates varied depending on the store. CEO Hunt Hawkins stated that the combination of a challenging retail environment and the impact of the pandemic caused “significant financial distress” to the business.
Stein Mart was known as the go-to place for the latest brand names in fashion, accessories, and unique home décor. Its remaining inventory was sold at a discount of up to 60%.
Beauty wasn’t on the top priority of people during the pandemic. Among its standout casualty was L’Occitane Inc., the international retailer of face, body, and home products, filed for Chapter 11 in January 2021 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of New Jersey. The company also disclosed plans to close 23 brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. and consider the lease’s renewal in other locations.
The significant drop in in-store sales was among the reasons cited for the bankruptcy filing. From April to December 2020, sales declined by more than 50% compared to sales of the same period in 2019.
#30 Quest Diagnostics
The diagnostic testing industry’s crucial role in the pandemic may be unquestioned, but its companies have also suffered from its effects. Quest Diagnostics, a medical diagnostic testing company, has furloughed about 4,000 of its employees. Rank-and-file employees, executives, and board of directors’ members who remain took a pay cut ranging from 5% to 25%, while contributions to 401k plans have been suspended.
These temporary layoffs came as a surprise, considering that it was among the top commercial coronavirus testers! But it wasn’t the case as its overall testing volume sharply dipped by 40% in mid-March 2020. Even the surge in demand for COVID-19 testing wasn’t sufficient to shore up its flagging testing volume. Quest conducted nearly 800,000 coronavirus-related tests, representing approximately 40% of the total COVID-19 testing by commercial laboratories in the U.S.
These businesses are just some of the thousands across the country that have either temporarily suspended their operations or permanently closed their doors. Every single one has a ripple effect on the economy, and we can only hope that the economy will recover as soon as possible.