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UPDATE 12:35 p.m.:

A sign on the door of the Bealls in Gainesville indicates it will open Friday, May 15, making it part of the chain's first phase of reopenings after the coronavirus forced closures nationwide.

Before all remaining Stage Stores locations closed March 27, about 393 stores had been temporarily shuttered in compliance with state and local regulations aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

ORIGINAL 10:59 a.m.:

Stage Stores Inc., the parent company of Bealls and Gordmans department stores, announced it has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy and is looking to sell or close its stores.

Bealls operates a department store along U.S. 82 in Gainesville. The chain had announced late last year that it was rebranding Bealls stores in Texas to Gordmans.

The corporation also announced Sunday evening, May 10, that it would begin reopening its stores May 15. About 557 would be opened Friday in the chain’s first phase, followed by 67 more stores reopening May 28 and the rest expected to open June 4.

Houston-based Stage Stores operates 738 stores, according to a March 27 press release outlining its coronavirus response. Its Bealls store in Gainesville is at 1008 U.S. 82.

Company President and CEO Michael Glazer pointed to “the increasingly challenging market environment” and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the temporary closure of all the company’s stores and furlough of employees.

“Given these conditions, we have been unable to obtain necessary financing and have no choice but to take these actions,” Glazer said in a press release.

The company expected to honor existing customer programs, including gift cards and returns, for the first 30 days after a store reopens, the release stated. It will stop accepting any outstanding gift cards or honoring other customer programs after that time.

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