NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)Century 21, an institution for bargain shoppers in New York City for nearly 60 years, is closing for good due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The retailer announced Thursday it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will close all 13 department stores across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida.

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The move comes amidst a dispute with its insurance company, which will not cover losses cause by the pandemic, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline Thomas reported.

“It’s a sad situation because there’s million of people who shop at Century,” said Patricial Alexander.

“I don’t know where I’m gonna shop after all of this,” said Colleen McGovern.

The popular retailer has been a go-to for high quality goods at a reasonable price.

“It’s affordable, and especially living in New York, you barely can cover your rent,” said Sasha Nesterchuk. “I’m seriously going to cry. I’m so upset.”

“Designer scarfs, belts… you name it,” said another shopper.


The New York-based company cited the dispute with its insurer when it announced the bankruptcy. The retailer said the company won’t cover up to $175 million in losses from the pandemic.

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“It’s hard to see them go because they’ve been around through everything. Through 9/11, even after Sandy,” said Patrick Kennell.

Insurance money helped rebuild its flagship store in Lower Manhattan after it was damaged by the 9/11 attacks, the company said.

Local leaders weighed in on the bankruptcy.

“It’s time for insurance companies to stop turning their backs on businesses in their moment of need. It’s time to hold insurance companies accountable for their actions,” said a statement from State Sen. Andrew Gounardes.

Century 21 joins more than two dozen retailers that have filed for bankruptcy since the coronavirus forced non-essential stores to temporarily close.

The company said it is starting going-out-of business sales at all of its stores and online.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)