Women's fashion retailer RTW Retailwinds Inc, operator of the New York & Company chain, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and expects to close most, if not all, of its 380 brick-and-mortar stores.

The company says the action will enable it to continue its operations while it restructures – including paying its workers, suppliers and vendors. 

"The combined effects of a challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic have caused significant financial distress on our business, and we expect it to continue to do so in the future," says CEO and CFO Sheamus Toal.

"As a result, we believe that a restructuring of our liabilities and a potential sale of the business or portions of the business is the best path forward to unlock value."

RTW Retailwinds, which operates 378 stores, and brands that include Fashion to Figure, and Happy x Nature, has already begun a store closing and liquidation process. It is also evaluating strategic alternatives, including the potential sale of its e-commerce business and related intellectual property.

According to a statement, it expects to fully repay a $12.7m outstanding loan by the end of August.

It joins a growing list of retailers that have filed for bankruptcy during the Covid-19 crisis. Other recent victims include Neiman Marcus, J.Crew, JCPenney, Brooks Brothers, Lucky Brand and the US operations of G-Star Raw – the last three during the past week alone.