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Shoe City chain closes after 74 years

The retailer has an estimated $16 million in unsecured outstanding debt.
Baltimore-based shoe retailer Shoe City has initiated Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A petition has been filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland. As of early 2023, the company operated a chain of 40 stores in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Shoe City began winding down operations and closing all outlets in the spring. 

Shoe store - unsplash

The retailer has an estimated $16 million in unsecured outstanding debt. In addition, the retailer owes more than $3 million on a Truist Bank loan. The company's liquidity problems have left it without supplies and no viable options to save the business.

Shoe City was founded in 1949 as Eileen Shoes and got its name in 1980 after a rebranding. In a new statement accompanying the bankruptcy filing, the business owners noted that "Shoe City's legacy has come to an end" after 74 years in business. 

The retailer's problems date back to 2020 when the chain lost its supply of premium sneaker brands. Shoe City had an operating loss of about $0.28 million in 2020 and increased to $1.76 million in 2021. 

Last spring, Arklyz Group, which owns The Athlete's Foot chain, agreed to buy Shoe City, but the deal ultimately fell through. The retailer's 2023 sales continued to decline, with the company owing $1.6 million to New Balance and $1.4 million to Timberland, and $1.35 million to Puma, $0.66 million to Nike and large amounts to Under Armour, Adidas, Fila, Asics and Reebok. The company ultimately decided to close all stores in bankruptcy. The retailer is expected to cease operations by May 31. 

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