Muji USA filed for bankruptcy on Friday, the latest retailer to take a hit from the coronavirus.
The U.S. offshoot of the Japanese brand, known for its stationery, home goods, and clothing, said it was restructuring its business in order to “ensure the future health, growth, and viability of the company.” Muji’s international operations, and its Japanese headquarters, will not be impacted by this decision.
“Muji has felt the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on in-store retail,” Santoshi Okazaki, CEO of Muji USA, said in a statement.
It’s just the latest retailer to declare bankruptcy as a result of the economic crisis spurred by the coronavirus pandemic. This week alone, Brooks Brothers and Sur La Table both filed for Chapter 11 protection; earlier in the year, Nordstrom, J.C. Penney, and Neiman Marcus did so as well.
In its statement, Muji said it would continue operating all of its U.S. retail stores and work to offer a safe in-store shopping experience at its nearly 20 locations, largely in New York and California. But over time, Muji expects to start closing brick-and-mortar stores to focus on e-commerce. This is to stay in step with consumer behavior in the post-COVID world, in which many people don’t feel comfortable shopping in stores, and may avoid them for months.