Biz Buzz Monday: Longtime Dubuque mall clothier announces closure

Jeff Mont-gomery

Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In addition to this update from Dubuque, we will highlight developments from Dubuque and Manchester, Iowa, in Tuesday’s edition.

After more than two decades in Dubuque’s Kennedy Mall, a popular clothing store is poised to close.

Christopher & Banks, a Minnesota-based retailer with about 400 locations nationwide, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week. The Christopher & Banks store in Kennedy Mall was among the “significant portion” of retail locations that the company announced it would close in conjunction with the bankruptcy filing.

Mall spokesman Joe Bell framed the closure as the continuation of a troubling trend in the retail industry.

“That is kind of the way of the world right now,” he said. “The retail sector has been battered recently.”

Bell said the Christopher & Banks store’s closure likely will be in mid-February but could come sooner if all remaining inventory is sold before then.

The retailer specializes in women’s clothing, both for work and everyday attire. The events of the past year put a major dent in sales.

“People weren’t going into work, and they just weren’t going out like they used to,” Bell said “If you put that kind of pressure on an industry that was already struggling, that creates a situation that is very difficult to overcome.”

Last month, Christopher & Banks Corp. reported that it had a net loss of $10.8 million in the third quarter of 2020, as net sales dropped 23%.

Christopher & Banks occupies a 4,400-square-foot space in the Dubuque mall and has been a tenant there since 2000, according to Bell. While there is no immediate plan for filling the space, Bell emphasized that a wide range of options will be explored.

He noted that malls across the nation are filling vacant retail space with other uses, including professional services, hospitality and even medical services.

“We will consider a variety of different directions to fill that space,” he said. “It will be attractive to a number of different merchants.”

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