Off-price retailer Stein Mart (SMRT) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday with plans to close a “significant portion, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores.” The company has 281 stores in 30 states, with liquidation sales already ongoing.

Stein Mart is the latest in a string of retailers that have filed for bankruptcy, citing the weight of the coronavirus on their businesses as the cause of their demise. JC Penney, J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, Brooks Brothers, Ascena Retail Group, and RTW Retailwinds, among others, have filed for Chapter 11 during the pandemic.

“The combined effects of a challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have caused significant financial distress on our business,” Hunt Hawkins, CEO and chief financial officer of Stein Mart, said in a statement.

“The company has determined that the best strategy to maximize value will be a liquidation of its assets pursuant to an organized going out of business sale. The company lacks sufficient liquidity to continue operating in the ordinary course of business,” he added.

Stein Mart said it is evaluating all its financial options, which do include a potential sale of its e-commerce business and its related intellectual property. The company does expect to maintain its normal course of business, paying employees’ wages and benefits without interrupt as well as suppliers and venders.

Stein Mart has hired restructuring counsel Foley & Landner LLP, and Clear Thinking Group will serve as the company's  restructuring advisor. PJ Solomon is Stein Mart's investment banker.

The retailer sells name-branded merchandise at a discounted price, including apparel, home décor, accessories, and shoes.

Shares of Stein Mart were trading at 0.165 cents as of 10:40 a.m. EDT, down 0.1303 cents or 44.1246%.

Steinmart Could these three retailers succumb to the fate of others and file for bankruptcy amid the coronavirus? Steinmart (a clothing chain) at Jacksonville Beach , Florida, USA. Photo: Getty Images/Diane Macdonald