By Jacqueline Laurean Yates

(NEW YORK) — One of New York’s most beloved bargain retailers, Century 21, is closing its stores.

The company, best known for designer goods offered at discounted prices, announced on Thursday that operations at 13 stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida would end after nearly 60 years.

A decision to close is largely due to the nonpayment of $175 million by the company’s insurers “under policies put in place to protect against losses stemming from business interruption such as that experienced as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the company said.

“While insurance money helped us to rebuild after suffering the devastating impact of 9/11, we now have no viable alternative but to begin the closure of our beloved family business because our insurers, to whom we have paid significant premiums every year for protection against unforeseen circumstances like we are experiencing today, have turned their backs on us at this most critical time,” Century 21 co-CEO Raymond Gindi said in a statement.

He continued, “While retailers across the board have suffered greatly due to COVID-19, and Century 21 is no exception, we are confident that had we received any meaningful portion of the insurance proceeds, we would have been able to save thousands of jobs and weather the storm, in hopes of another incredible recovery.”

The company is voluntarily filing for relief under Chapter 11 bankruptcy and a lawsuit against several of its insurance providers will be moved to Bankruptcy Court from New York State court.

There has also been a request that the Bankruptcy Court expedite the adjudication of the suit for the benefit of stakeholders.

“Since 1961, when Al and Sonny Gindi opened what was then a small store in Downtown Manhattan, we have been proud to provide shoppers with unmatched access to designer brands at amazing prices,” Century 21 co-CEO IG Gindi said. “While we wish that Century 21 could continue to be a must-see shopping destination for so many, we are proud of the pioneering role it has played in off-price retail and the iconic brand it has become.”

“It has been a true honor for us to be part of the vibrant New York City fashion scene and to serve millions of locals, tourists, and celebrities, side by side,” he added.

Shoppers can still take advantage of deep discounts as the company prepares to close stores.

Struggling retailers such as Lord & Taylor and Victoria’s Secret have also been forced to close stores this year.

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