(CNN) — Brooks Brothers, the 200-year-old menswear retailer that has dressed 40 US presidents and unofficially became the outfitter of Wall Street bankers, has filed for bankruptcy.
The privately held company had been struggling as business attire grew more casual in recent years. But it has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, which sent demand for suits plummeting. Many working-from-home employees opted for far more relaxed looks of t-shirts and sweatpants rather than pinstripe suits and custom shirts.
Brooks Brothers filed for Chapter 11 early Wednesday in a Delaware court. It had warned in June it would lay off nearly 700 workers in three states and is seeking a buyer because coronavirus destroyed its business.
The retailer is reportedly in the process of shuttering 20% of its 250 US stores. According to the bankruptcy filing, Brooks Brothers has secured $75 million in financing to continue operating.
Brooks Brothers opened its first store in 1818 near Wall Street. Years later, it began making ready-made suits for men that couldn’t wait for a tailor. In 1896, the retailer invented the original button-down polo shirt and has offered many other first of its kind clothing, including the madras prints and the chunky shetland sweater.