Destination Maternity filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, citing a variety of factors including significant sales slumps and dwindling foot traffic, the declining national birth rate, and internal leadership shifts.
According to the bankruptcy filing, the company plans to shutter 183 stores across its existing markets in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The retailer operates 458 stores total across its three maternity-focused brands, including its namesake Destination Maternity, Motherhood Maternity, and A Pea in the Pod. As the largest global maternity company, it also sells products within several major retailers including Macy’s and Bed Bath & Beyond.
As it moves into bankruptcy proceedings, Destination Maternity will attempt to find a buyer and work toward restructuring, but not without its 1,100 full-time and 2,300 part-time employees likely taking a hit. The mall brand has struggled to stay afloat amid a rise of competing e-commerce brands and rental companies that cater to expectant mothers, paired with a national birth rate that hit a 32-year-low in 2018.
Destination Maternity is going bankrupt and it really did list, among other reasons, declining birth rates as the reason for the company’s downswing.
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Destination Maternity filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, as the apparel company hopes to avoid the growing graveyard of fashion retailers felled by expensive leases and digital competition.
The retailer operates stores under several brands, including Destination Maternity, Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod.
The company had 446 stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico as of Aug. 3. It also operated 491 shops-within-a-shop at various department stores and baby specialty retailers.
The company plans to close 183 stores after already shuttering 27 recently, according to a court filing. Bankruptcy allows companies to escape unprofitable leases.
Founded as a mail-order catalog business called Mothers Work in 1982, the company went public in 1992, acquired the Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod brands in 1995 and expanded rapidly in the years thereafter.
But the company, in a court document, blamed the retail industry’s turmoil, declining birth rates, high rents and leadership turnover for faltering. The company has had five CEOs in the last five years.