By Shereen Siewert

National women’s clothing retailer Christopher & Banks has filed for bankruptcy protection and is expected to shutter all of the company’s stores, including the Wausau location.

The Wausau store would have needed to relocate to remain open, as the Wausau Center mall is slated for closure within weeks with demolition to begin later in 2021.

Company officials on Thursday confirmed Christopher & Banks filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 in u.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. The chain is the latest in a string of retailers to shut down operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Christopher & Banks was in trouble before the pandemic began, bringing in a new leadership team and hopes for a rebound. But the company never regained its footing and is now in a store closing and liquidation process. In December, Christopher & Banks reported a $10.8 million loss for third-quarter shares in the period ending Oct. 31, with a decrease of $72.8 million compared to 2019.

Hilco Merchant Resources on Thursday announced store closing sales have been launched nationwide.

“Since the start of the COVID pandemic, we have taken aggressive steps to protect our business while continuing to serve our customers in a healthy and safe environment,” said Keri Jones, CEO of Christopher & Banks, in a statement.

“Despite the tremendous advancements we have made in executing our strategic plan, due to the financial distress resulting from the pandemic and its ongoing impact, we elected to initiate this process and pursue a potential sale of the business in whole or in part to position the company for the future,” Jones said. “I want to extend my deepest gratitude to our dedicated associates, loyal customers and supportive partners for their commitment to Christopher & Banks throughout these challenging times.”