Century 21 plans hundreds of layoffs ahead of store closings

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Bankrupt off-price retailer Century 21 plans to lay off hundreds of workers when its 13 stores close for good in the coming weeks, records show.

The beloved chain, which carried high-end brands at bargain prices, will shut its New York, Pennsylvania and Florida stores by Nov. 22 after the coronavirus pandemic forced it into bankruptcy earlier this month, according to notices filed with state labor officials.

The closures will eventually put 855 employees in those three states out of work, including 599 at five Big Apple stores and the corporate headquarters on Cortlandt Street, records show. The notices indicate that some staffers were cut on Sept. 11, the day after Century 21’s bankruptcy filing.

The chain’s Lincoln Square location at Broadway and West 66th Street will close to the public on or about Oct. 5, more than a month before the rest of the city’s stores, and its workers will be axed roughly four days later, one notice says.

It’s unclear how many workers will be affected when Century 21’s New Jersey stores are shuttered. Labor agencies in those states had not published any layoff notices from the company as of Thursday afternoon. Century 21 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Century 21 has started going-out-of-business sales at its shops, which are popular among fashion-conscious shoppers seeking cut-price designer clothes, shoes and accessories. The company blamed its bankruptcy on insurance companies’ failure to pay up as COVID-19 forced its stores to close.

Century 21 has about 1,215 retail and distribution workers and some 175 corporate staff, it said in a court filing. The pandemic-induced store closures forced the company to furlough nearly all the retail employees and half the corporate staff, though many workers have returned to their jobs as stores reopened, according to the filing.

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