Muji is the latest retailer to file for bankruptcy

Muji, which sells minimalist decor, stationery and clothing, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday in Delaware. The company plans to use the process to emerge with a renewed give attention to online sales.

“Muji has felt the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on in-store retail, and as a result will take this opportunity to refocus our efforts in the United States on key regional markets and e-commerce,” Muji CEO Satoshi Okazaki said in a separate statement Friday.

Part of this refocusing will involve shutting down “a small number” of stores — though Muji currently remains open for business in its recently reopened stores in addition to online.

When a business files for bankruptcy, it does not necessarily mean the firm will go out of business. Many use the bankruptcy process to shed debt, close unprofitable operations and focus on profitable strategies.

Muji’s Chapter 11 filing listed liabilities of $50 million to $100 million, owed to between 200 and 999 creditors.

The company said in its statement that the bankruptcy process will “ensure the future health, growth, and viability of the company. Muji is committed to serving its customers in the market and providing a high quality of product and experience into the future.”

Muji, which is the US arm of Japanese conglomerate Ryohin Keikaku, joins retail giants like J.Crew, JCPenney and Brooks Brothers in filing for bankruptcy during the pandemic.

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