Wisconsin-based Shopko to close remaining stores in June

Associated Press

March 18, 2019

 A patron is seen walking into Shopko in West Bend in January. The chain had previously announced the closing of many of its locations around the state, but on Monday it announced all stores would close.
File photo

ASHWAUBENON, Wis.  — Wisconsin-based retail chain Shopko Stores plans to close its remaining 120 department stores by mid-June.

Shopko said Monday the company was unable to find a buyer for its business. The company plans to begin winding down its retail operations this week. It is also evaluating the “strategic options for its optical business.”

Locations previously announced for closure in southeastern Wisconsin included West Bend, Sussex, Grafton, Watertown, Racine and Kenosha.

WLUK-TV reports those closings will affect an additional 5,000 employees.

Shopko says it will not move forward with an auction that was scheduled Tuesday. The liquidation is expected to take 10-12 weeks.

The retailer, headquartered near Green Bay, filed for bankruptcy protection in January, citing excessive debt and ongoing competitive pressure, and began announcing store closings.

“This is not the outcome that we had hoped for when we started our restructuring efforts,” said CEO Russ Steinhorst. “We want to thank all of our teammates for their hard work and dedication during their time at Shopko.”

Previously, Steinhorst had said that the “challenging retail environment” was a factor in why the company had to make “tough choices.”

At that point, he believed there was a path forward for Shopko.

“ ... we are confident that by operating a smaller and more focused store footprint, we will be able to build a stronger Shopko that will better serve our customers, vendors, employees and other stakeholders through this process,” he had said.

Shopko began with a store in Green Bay in 1962.

Also contributing: Conley Media