After filing for bankruptcy and closing 100 stores in January 2019, Shopko has announced that it will close all 120 of its remaining department stores by June 2019.
“This is not the outcome that we had hoped for when we started our restructuring efforts,” Russ Steinhorst, chief executive officer of Shopko, said in a statement. “We want to thank all of our teammates for their hard work and dedication during their time at Shopko.”
The Green Bay, Wisconsin-based retailer opened its first location there in 1962 and remains a major employer in the area today. It employs about 15,000 people nationwide.
“Any time a community loses a major employer, the impact is felt community-wide,” Kelly Armstrong, vice president of economic development at the Greater Green Bay Chamber, said in a statement. “We are saddened by Shopko’s announcement, as they have been a mainstay of the Greater Green Bay community for more than 50 years — as not only an employer, but also an active community supporter. Given the talent shortage that exists nationally, including in Northeast Wisconsin, we are hopeful that individuals displaced as a result of these closures will quickly secure supporting jobs.”
Although all Shopko stores will close, the company is still reevaluating its 51 optical centers.
Shopko is one of many brick-and-mortar retailers to close in recent years amid struggles to compete in today’s marketplace.
“They weren’t able to offer anything compelling compared to Walmart, Target, Amazon,” Midwestern retail analyst David Livingston told MPR News.
In small communities like Sister Bay, Wisconsin, Shopko was the only place residents could obtain prescriptions.
“I hoped against hope we wouldn’t lose that store, but we’ve already developed a prospect list and will be going out to engage prospective retailers for that site and its availability,” Jim Schuessler, Door County Economic Development Corporation executive director, told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “We want to focus on finding someone who will provide the amenities that Shopko did in Sister Bay.”
Although the company hoped to find a buyer, an auction scheduled for March 19 was canceled the day before. A bankruptcy consultant will oversee complete liquidation over the next 10 to 12 weeks, and all stores will be closed by June 16.