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Unsuitable For A Pandemic? Add Men's Wearhouse, Jos. A. Bank To Bankruptcy List

A collapse in demand for suits and other office attire is leading another storied retailer across the brink, with the parent company of Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank filing for bankruptcy.

Parent company Tailored Brands had been struggling with debt and flagging demand before the coronavirus pandemic. But the temporary store closures and collapse in apparel sales during the health crisis took their toll.

Tailored Brands — which also owns Moores Clothing for Men and K&G brands — said in mid-July it would it would shutter up to 500 stores and cut 20% of corporate jobs.

Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank are joined in pandemic bankruptcy by upscale rival men's clothier Brooks Brothers, preppy retailer J. Crew, the women's retail group that owns Ann Taylor and Loft, as well as department stores Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney, among others.

"The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 requires us to further adapt and evolve," Tailored Brands CEO Dinesh Lathi said in a statement announcing the bankruptcy late on Sunday. "Reaching an agreement with our lenders represents a critical milestone toward our goal of becoming a stronger Company that has the financial and operational flexibility to compete and win in the rapidly evolving retail environment."

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Alina Selyukh is a business correspondent at NPR, where she follows the path of the retail and tech industries, tracking how America's biggest companies are influencing the way we spend our time, money, and energy.