Saturday, October 10, 2020

Goody's (Aborted Gordmans Conversion), Senatobia, MS

Today's post highlights Tate County, MS, retail.

"The story of Stage Stores' recent history," Retail Dive wrote two months ago, "could give an observer whiplash."

Ain't that the truth.

Believe you me, we're going to explore that recent history in detail in this post; but first, we need to go back a little further -- over a decade ago, as a matter of fact -- in order to get the first piece of context relevant to our subject today.

Way back in 2008, Goody's Family Clothing -- then in its 55th year as a small-format department store located primarily in the south and midwest -- filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, closing 69 of its stores. Luckily, it was able to successfully exit bankruptcy shortly thereafter, but the happy feeling didn't last long: Goody's again went bankrupt a mere four months later, in January 2009, this time filing Chapter 7 and going out of business for good.

The Goody's format, I believe, had been mostly successful, but evidently numerous factors must have combined to make the business unsustainable as a going concern, such as the 2008 recession. I briefly discussed Goody's and showcased the short-lived Hernando, MS, location last year, in this post over at the My Florida Retail Blog. (Read the post, and you'll understand why it was published on that site instead of this one!)

My point here is to say that the Goody's name did have some value to it, even if the chain itself was driven out of business. Thankfully, a buyer recognized that value, and purchased the Goody's intellectual property during a bankruptcy auction in July 2009. That buyer was Specialty Retailers, Inc., better known as Stage Stores.

Like Goody's, Stage Stores operated small-format department stores, featuring moderately-priced, brand-name goods, centered primarily in small towns with little competition. The difference between the two came largely in scope: Stage had a much larger trade area than Goody's had. So, not only did Stage use its Goody's IP acquisition to expand into new areas ("We have identified approximately 50 former Goody's markets that meet our small town business model criteria of being under-served with minimal competition"), Stage also decided to rebrand a number of its existing stores in areas where it felt the Goody's nameplate had "stronger customer awareness." Ultimately, this acquisition added Goody's to the company's existing roster of nameplates, comprised of Bealls, Palais Royal, Peebles, and Stage itself.

Image source unknown

--------------------------------------------------

We've met Goody's. Now it's time to meet Gordmans. Gordmans was founded approximately 38 years before Goody's, and although it, too, operated in the midwest, Gordmans' stores were considerably larger than those of Goody's. Moreover, Gordmans operated under a different store format. Here is an excerpt from a 2013 Albuquerque Journal article titled "So... What is Gordmans?":

Often described as an "off-price" retailer a la T.J. Maxx or Marshalls, President and CEO Jeff Gordman said the company describes itself instead as an "everyday value price" retailer that sells name brand apparel, accessories, and home goods.

Is there a difference between the two models?

Yes, according to Gordman, although the pricing strategy is very similar.

Like off-price stores, Gordmans doesn't play the sale game. Instead, it maintains prices that it boasts are up to 60 percent off of department and specialty stores. ...

Gordmans carries many of the same brands shoppers would expect to find at a Marshalls or T.J. Maxx, but Gordman said they're offered in "full and complete assortments" and displayed differently.

Rather than spread clothing out on a series of long racks, Gordmans displays its merchandise more like department stores, the CEO said.

"We compete against everybody (but) we're more directly competing against a Kohl's, a Target and (JCPenney) versus a T.J. Maxx or Marshalls or Burlington (Coat)," Gordman said.

At roughly 50,000 square feet per store, Gordmans is also larger than the typical off-price store. For example, Albuquerque's two Marshalls each opened in about 30,000 square feet.

In contrast, Stage Stores listed its average square footage as 18,200 sf, although several of its department stores were larger (as large as 25-30K), and others were considerably smaller (such as the location we'll be touring today, I believe).

But Gordmans and Goody's did have two other things in common. One, Gordmans filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2017, liquidating all of its stores. In the time since that 2013 Albuquerque Journal article had been written, Gordmans had been taken over by a private equity investor, who drained the company of cash as well as put it in debt in order to pay out a special dividend benefitting, largely, the investment firm itself. CEO Jeff Gordman resigned shortly thereafter, and the chain's sales plummeted.

And two, just like Goody's, Gordmans was rescued out of bankruptcy by none other than Stage Stores.

Courtesy McAfee & Taft

--------------------------------------------------

Given the many similarities between Goody's and Stage's business models and footprints, the Stage Stores acquisition of Goody's made plenty of sense. But Gordmans, on the other hand, with its larger stores and discount department store format, was markedly different than Stage Stores. What was Stage's game here?

According to Stage Stores CEO Michael Glazer, "By acquiring Gordmans, we believe that we have an opportunity to benefit from its off-price competencies, deep connection with a youthful customer, and strong home and gifts businesses. We are pleased to enhance our store portfolio with the most desirable Gordmans locations, giving Stage a strong Midwestern presence in markets generally larger than those we serve today. We plan to maintain the Gordmans brand and look forward to welcoming a significant number of Gordmans employees to our Company."

In other words, Stage sought out Gordmans precisely because Gordmans was different. Stage felt it could leverage Gordmans' off-price model -- well, semi-off-price, anyway; although as time went on, Stage decided it would take Gordmans in a fully off-price direction -- as well as its brand engagement with younger customers than the typical Stage shopper and its greater focus on home décor as compared to Stage's apparel-driven format, all to bolster Stage's performance as a whole. This was necessary, I might add, because department stores had been performing, and continue to perform, increasingly poorly as the 2010s (and now, 2020s) press(ed) forward.

Stage's deal was announced in April 2017, and involved the purchase of "a minimum of 50 Gordmans store leases" out of bankruptcy, "with rights to assume leases for an additional seven stores and a distribution center; all of Gordmans' inventory, furniture, fixtures, equipment, and other assets at the 57 store locations; and Gordmans' intellectual property portfolio." It is my understanding that Stage reopened all 57 of those locations as well as, later on, at least a handful of additional "original" Gordmans stores that it had not acquired during the bankruptcy.

2017 breakout of Stage-owned stores by nameplate, courtesy Chain Store Guide. The accompanying article ended, "Time will tell whether the acquisition was a key piece of a successful effort to turn Stage Stores around, or simply additional weight for a company already treading water."

At this point, it's worth noting that Stage Stores did briefly engage in an off-price experiment prior to its Gordmans acquisition, although it was extremely short-lived. Launched in November 2011, "Steele's," as the banner was known, had 35 stores in seven states by the time of its disposition in March 2014. Surprisingly, the Steele's stores were actually sold as a going concern to a new retail unit of Hilco Global Retail Group, better known as a key player in the liquidator field; Hilco renamed the stores "Steele's & Deals," and in a much less surprising fate, the stores began liquidating again in October 2014, closing for good by the end of the following January.

This Miami, OK, Steele's store operated in the same shopping center as parent nameplate Stage. Courtesy The Miami News-Record

Stage may not have had much success with its earlier off-price experiment, but the company appeared to have high hopes for its new Gordmans acquisition. Namely, Stage's goal wasn't just to operate the 57 stores it acquired and keep things status quo. Rather, Stage's ultimate plan was to begin converting some of its other, smaller stores into its new off-price Gordmans format, to try and boost performance at those existing locations. Sure enough, Stage Stores converted approximately 10 of its existing stores over to Gordmans in 2018, followed by nearly 100 conversions in 2019. To its welcome surprise, the company found that "those [converted] stores that had reached their one-year anniversary had double the sales volume compared to their department store days."

That news was all that Stage needed to be convinced that, in the words of its CEO, "our future is off-price." In September 2019, Stage announced plans to rapidly accelerate its conversion program, with the goal of switching the entire company -- some 700 stores -- to the Gordmans nameplate and format by the third quarter of fiscal 2020. Approximately 40 non-converting stores would be closed, and the company would be exiting the department store business after nearly a century.

Courtesy Athens Daily Review

Industry experts seemed to have mixed responses to the move. On the more positive side of the spectrum, Retail Dive author Ben Unglesbee wrote, "Today the move to buy Gordmans appears as smart as ever, as Stage essentially bets the future of its business on the off-price banner. Looking at the retailer's numbers, it's not hard to see why. Its off-price and department store units are on different trajectories, with its department store sales falling 6% year over year in 2018 while off-price increased more than 31%. Those crossing trajectories describes much of the industry. The fortunes of department stores are deeply imperiled, while off-price sellers continue to make sales and market share gains."

Meanwhile, though, Warren Shoulberg, writing for Forbes, opined, "For Stage, it's a gutsy move to consolidate its hodgepodge collection of retail brands and formats and concentrate on what is arguably the only area of physical retailing to consistently be able to produce positive results in the online onslaught. ... Some industry observers have been skeptical of both the overall strategy and the ability of the company to execute it on such an ambitious schedule. ... And while focusing on off-price may be Stage's best chance of survival, it is by no means a sure thing."

Both authors make a point of equating Stage's off-price push to a bet on which the fate of the whole company rested. And unfortunately, the bet does not seem to have paid off. One year later, in September 2020, Stage Stores went out of business entirely, closing the doors of its final locations for the last time. What went wrong?

--------------------------------------------------

Stage promoted their Black Friday 2019 sales as "Our Last Black Friday Ever!" This was only a promotional gimmick given the Gordmans conversion plans discussed above, but little did they know, it would wind up being true.

Image source unknown

2020 has been a mess, that's for sure. I will argue that the COVID-19 pandemic (and more directly, the associated economic shutdown) is what wholly and truly killed Stage Stores. But it's important to recognize that Stage was in trouble even before the year (pardon my French) went to shit.

As early as the publication date of that Forbes article I referenced -- January 29, 2020 -- reports began circulating that Stage Stores was late paying its vendors and, per the Wall Street Journal, was considering a possible bankruptcy filing as it looked to restructure its debt. The liquidity concerns originated from disappointing sales results during the 2019 holiday season; its Gordmans conversions had been performing so well that Stage raised its earnings expectations from an earlier estimate of 1-3% to a new figure as high as 9%, but the ultimate result was a mere 1.4%. In response to this, the company maintained that even despite the sales miss, it felt a return to profitability was indeed, and only, possible by moving forward with its plans to convert its entire portfolio to Gordmans. Retail Dive again noted "the company's logic is fairly straightforward," but also shared concern from analysts that "the Gordmans stores outperforming the department stores were 'on a relatively small scale and may not be indicative of results from a larger sample size.'"

Things got worse in February. At once, the internet lit up with posts and messages from Stage employees, sharing the worrisome news that the company had laid off "more than 20, and potentially dozens," of corporate staff members, with the merchandising allocation and buying departments especially hard-hit. This number later grew to "up to 100." Moreover, these sources reported that numerous stores had begun immediate liquidations. 

At first, "the company communicated to employees ... that 60 Gordmans stores were closing." From my research, most of these were the large-format, "original" Gordmans stores that Stage had purchased out of Gordmans' bankruptcy in 2017; a sensible move, if an unfortunate one, given that these stores were so much larger than the typical square footage Stage was used to operating in. But then the reports escalated to as many as 200 store closures, including not only those 60 Gordmans stores but also up to 140 "department stores that were slated to be converted into Gordmans" in 2020. Now those conversions, it appeared, would no longer be happening. 

As Retail Dive wrote, "In all, the retailer would be left with a footprint of about 500 stores, according to the sources. That is down from the company's previously announced plans to end the year with 700 Gordmans stores, after converting its remaining fleet to the banner. The company did not respond to a request for comment."

Compared to Stage's CEO's November 2019 comments that "There are many who doubted our ability to truly transition from our department store culture. Nevertheless, we are well on our way, and we will not be denied. ... We are rapidly becoming the best story in retail," this early 2020 news was looking a lot like a death knell, and employees as well as analysts grew concerned. Still, though, even though this news lent credence to those bankruptcy rumors, most onlookers didn't expect the company to fail entirely. I personally had been monitoring this news daily on my lunch break, and felt certain that had they filed, Stage would have been able to successfully reorganize and emerge. The webmaster of the Dead and Dying Retail Facebook page agreed, writing, "The last report I heard as far as financial numbers and such were pretty good. The growth and return of the Gordmans brand has been positive. They see the Goody's brand was dead and needed to be retired. ... If they file for bankruptcy, I expect them to emerge and keep operating."

Even Retail Dive wrote that "it's still not clear whether a filing will prove necessary to restructure the company's debt," citing an expert who claimed "store closures wouldn't necessarily portend a bankruptcy filing. 'It just means the plan they had put in place initially wasn't working out as planned.'"

But then, the pandemic happened.

--------------------------------------------------

Rather than converting all of its stores over to Gordmans at once, Stage had been executing its ambitious project on a rolling basis, dubbed "Gordmans Grand Opening Brand Bash" for 2020 (it had been the "Gordmans Grand Opening Tour" in 2019), with about 40-45 store openings scheduled for twice each month or so. Still, due to the uncertainty surrounding the company's stability, the February grand openings were put on pause, postponed until March. So, it's just incredibly unfortunate timing that, as soon as Stage was prepared to resume new store openings again, the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to stop once more.

March 2020 scheduled grand openings. Note the "postponed due to COVID-19" overlay. Courtesy Gordmans

All other Stage-owned stores temporarily closed as well, and the February liquidations that had begun were put on hold. Courtesy The Daily News

As with most retail that had been deemed "unessential," Stage Stores had been forced to temporarily "close all of its 738 stores and furlough its store workers and most of its corporate staff." But these store closures and existing liquidity constraints did nothing to help the company fulfill its late-payment obligations to vendors. In April, the company asked its vendors for concessions (a plea that fell largely on deaf ears), and entered into a forbearance agreement with its lenders that "significantly reduced its available borrowings." But the biggest blow came not from either of these two parties, but rather, from Stage's landlords. Like many retailers, Stage did not pay rent on its leases beginning in March, when the closures took effect. By mid-May, the company had amassed "some $31 million in overdue rent," and its landlords summarily "started locking it out of some locations with threats to evict the retailer and get rid of the inventory."

As you know, Stage had been struggling beforehand, and its chief restructuring officer, Elaine Crowley, shared that the company was looking at reducing its footprint even more drastically than the reduction of stores it had just announced in February. But ultimately, Crowley stated in court papers that COVID-19 was the "proverbial 'nail in the coffin,'" leading to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on May 11, 2020, with a dual plan to begin liquidating immediately, while also keeping open the possibility of a sale of the company or any of its locations or assets. Another expert similarly opined that "Stage likely filed for bankruptcy simply because it had to, as landlords kicked them out."

As stores began to reopen just days following the bankruptcy filing, some of the Gordmans-converted stores celebrated their grand openings on the very same day they began their going-out-of-business sales.

Courtesy The News Virginian

--------------------------------------------------

Retail Dive, which as you can tell covered the Stage Stores saga in great detail, published a "Deep Dive" about a week after the bankruptcy filing, offering a better explanation of the situation and asking a pointed question. "Stage Stores filed for Chapter 11 with a forked plan: it will liquidate while also trying to sell itself. If a buyer emerges, the retailer will be saved. If not, it will disappear. ... As the retailer now looks to wind down, while also seeking out a possible buyer to salvage the company, its entire existence is on the line. And like many retailers before it in bankruptcy, Stage Stores faces some grim questions: Is the retailer worth saving? And who would want it?"

The author noted that 21 parties had indicated at least some interest in parts of the company -- not necessarily all for going-concern purposes, though -- but industry insiders expressed little hope for Stage's survival. One analyst said that, in this current time, "Most retailers are struggling to survive [themselves] ... I don't think any retailer is going to want to take on Gordmans in this kind of environment, even if they have a burning desire to get into off-price or they thought, 'Wow, these are great store locations,' neither of which is probably true." Another more bluntly stated, "I would be very surprised if there was a going concern bid for Stage Stores operations."

Sad as it may be, ultimately, these analysts were right. Without a buyer, Stage began conducting going-out-of-business sales at all 720 of its stores on July 16, 2020. (Sales had started immediately in May -- and others, remember, had actually begun as early as February, and were never completed -- but these were all simply called "store closing" prior to the GOB announcement in July.) In a last-minute gleam of hope, in mid-August it was reported that Houston "real estate developer Ali Choudhri sought more time to buy Stage Stores' business," but by then it was too little, too late; "Stage Stores attorneys said they were unable to close a deal," and the company received court approval to officially wind down its operations, shuttering its final locations in two phases, one on August 29 and the last on September 27, 2020.

Ben Unglesbee of Retail Dive sums up the company's rollercoaster ride in a few short sentences. "Some were skeptical about Stage Stores' plans to convert to Gordmans so quickly, given the small sample size of stores it based its plans on and its relatively small supply of capital to power the conversions with. The company was at risk of bankruptcy long before COVID-19 came along. Would the retailer have survived, though, in a market absent a pandemic? That question will have to remain a hypothetical, as the retailer winds down its business and prepares to turn off the lights."


--------------------------------------------------

After that extremely long introduction, we find ourselves in Senatobia, MS, for today's post. A few years after Stage Stores purchased the Goody's intellectual property out of bankruptcy, the company opened up a new Goody's store in Senatobia Plaza, with visibility from nearby I-55, circa fall 2013. I was aware of this location, but had never visited it, or any other Stage-owned nameplate, to my knowledge; my market was a little too big for Stage to operate in, prior to their assumption of my local Gordmans lease in 2017, anyway.

But in late 2019, having heard the exciting news that Stage was going to convert its entire portfolio to the Gordmans banner in 2020, I was eager upon learning that I would soon have another Gordmans store nearby to experience, this one a post-Stage location, to complement the existing pre-Stage location in Southaven, which to date remained the only Gordmans store in Mississippi. I made plans to write a before-and-after style blog post in the future, showing the Senatobia store both before and after its Gordmans conversion, and to that end visited the store for my first batch of pictures on December 12, 2019.

Sure enough, Mississippi did gain three new Gordmans stores during the 2020 Gordmans Brand Bash... but the Senatobia location was not one of them. Rather, the Senatobia Goody's was one of the stores that was sadly selected during Stage's February 2020 woes not to make the Gordmans conversion after all. Like so many other Stage-owned stores, that means this store underwent a "fake" store closing sale -- which you will see documented below -- before ultimately undergoing a real one. Consumers who don't know any better probably thought that this store spent an entire year in liquidation. But of course, as you and I are aware, the first "store closing" sale was simply a gimmick, designed to move merchandise prior to the Gordmans conversion, which would drastically increase the amount of home décor carried in the store and limit the existing apparel selection in the process. Sadly, though, none of this would come to fruition.


We'll begin with this daytime pic I took of the Senatobia Goody's in late June 2019, while visiting the closing Fred's store in the same shopping center. (We'll see that Fred's in a future post.) While Goody's was running a 40% off "mega sale," it was not yet slated for its faux "closing sale."



In December, I found a different story. The banners outside had been changed to read "store closing -- 50% off." I also could've sworn I saw from the interstate another banner at one point which advertised the upcoming Gordmans conversion, but that was nowhere to be found on my visit. No matter, though...


...as on the doors to the building themselves, we see the prominent purple message that Gordmans was on its way, opening in 2020. Speaking of the purple color, I fully intend to discuss Gordmans' branding style, which was fun and quirky, in a future post, which could very well be considered a "part two" to today's entry. But I think we've spent enough time covering Stage's background here that adding even more to that would be too much.


Entering the building, here's our first look at the interior of the Senatobia Goody's. As you'll see, there isn't a whole lot to speak of, visually... it's very neutral, with little in the way of décor or interesting features. Not to say that's a bad thing, but it is fairly boring. Gordmans, as I said, would've had a much more lively feel to it. But I do also want to emphasize that I didn't find Goody's dated; just a little bland.



That earlier shot looked at the front right corner of the building; the jut-out was home to women's fitting rooms, with women's apparel in the foreground. As we continue down the right-hand side of the store in the above two images, we find additional salesfloor space dedicated to apparel. You can also begin to get a sense for how small this store felt. I was unable to find a square footage figure, but I got the impression it was smaller than even Stage Stores' average size (which, you'll recall, wasn't that awful large to begin with).

The mannequins you see were all for sale, in anticipation of the forthcoming Gordmans conversion. Unlike Goody's and the other Stage-owned department store nameplates, Gordmans did not use mannequins in its stores. 




Moving over to the center of the store, and looking both backward and forward, we see the actionway lined with some not-totally-presentable stacks of luggage, boxes, and what appears to be a backroom apparel rack. We also see plenty of red and white "store closing" and "doorbuster" signs. The doorbusters were for the holiday sales; remember, these weren't real store closings, so Stage could still set the prices as they wished -- and did, for all the doorbusters. The rest of the merchandise was discounted at Stage's own whim, not that of a liquidator. (Hence also, the absence of any hanging "everything must go" signs.)



Back over in women's apparel, facing up towards the front of the building. Looks like girls' clothing was near this area also.


The back right corner of the store was home to some clearance merchandise, and also some of the only elements of "décor" in the whole building.



The back wall was dedicated solely (pun intended :P ) to shoes, which I hear is quite common in Stage-owned stores. As in, so common that even in the Southaven Gordmans they relocated shoes to the rear wall, displacing several other departments, upon taking over the store in 2017, in order to keep with their preferred layout. That's some dedication.

I liked the second shot both because of the bokeh effect (out-of-focus background) and because I captured that stage.com ad in the middle; with the company set (at the time) to convert all of its remaining stores to Gordmans, I wasn't sure how much longer the Stage name would be around. (I guess my concern ultimately wound up still being valid, but for much different reasons...)


Looking back over to women's clearance from shoes. Looks like there was a separate register specifically for the shoe department back here, but it was not in use at the time of my visit. With the store being as small as it is, I'm not sure why a separate register was even necessary, to be honest.



Some more views down the central actionway, up toward the front. Note that the holiday toy doorbusters likely were not carried year-round, so this store's ratio of merchandise typically would've been even more dominated by apparel.



Additional views of shoes. The leftmost side of the department gives way to the beginning of home goods, which includes bedding, kitchenware, and storage solutions.

I should mention that we actually purchased several pairs of shoes while we were here, including the pair of tennis shoes that I wear regularly to this day.




More in the way of home décor comes into view as we round the corner into the left-hand side of the building, including wall art, decorations, and of course, seasonal Christmas merchandise. The cashier we spoke with said that the Gordmans conversion -- which would be taking place around mid-January -- would involve dedicating approximately the entire left-side wall of the store to home merchandise as opposed to simply the tiny back left corner. There also would not be any painting, just a weeklong closure for the signage swap and remerchandising. She admitted to us that she felt this store was too small to become a Gordmans, which we agreed with. Still, I feel like it would've been neat to see the end result, had the conversion actually taken place...


In this particular shot you can see how the existing home department had an even smaller floor space than you may have thought at first glance -- note that the left-side wall comes inward a considerable amount for some unknown reason, constricting the amount of salesfloor space in this area. This can also be seen four pictures below this one.

As you've probably been able to tell, the store wasn't terribly busy at the time of my visit; most of that is likely attributable to the time of day, but I will also note that the home department seemed busiest. Perhaps that's a sign that the Gordmans conversion would've been successful, had it gotten a chance to occur.



Looking over to the center of the store again, then back up towards the front. Boys and baby occupy additional portions of the middle of the store, with menswear taking up the half of the left-side wall not dedicated to home goods.




Stepping inside the men's department for a couple of pics, before stepping back out into the actionway. In addition to the shoes I mentioned, I also bought a T-shirt here, which I tried on in the fitting rooms in the front left corner (visible in the images below). Besides some 2020 visits to Dillard's both before and during the pandemic, I'm pretty sure this was the last time I've been in a fitting room. And it's not out of my own desire to avoid fitting rooms, mind you (although I never was a fan, lol), but instead because so many stores refuse to open them back up to the public, which is undoubtedly costing them loads of business...




Three additional views of the men's department, as we inch ever closer to the front of the store. Note the focus on name brands here, such as Levi's, and nicely presented tables and clothing racks with a full selection of sizes for each style... that, of course, was all going to change with the Gordmans conversion, had it actually happened. Although Gordmans originally operated in much the same way -- with a full selection of sizes, more department-store-like displays, etc., as described in that 2013 Albuquerque Journal article referenced at the top of this post -- Stage Stores envisioned Gordmans as a true off-price retailer, and in so doing took steps to install the same "series of long racks" common to off-pricers that former Gordmans CEO Jeff Gordman so prided his stores on not having. The selection also became more like a treasure hunt, in that shoppers were no longer guaranteed a complete selection of sizes for each style. You can read more about Stage's changes to Gordmans here, if you're interested.

Also, on the subject of Jeff Gordman... it's worth noting that he, too, made a bid to buy his former chain out of bankruptcy in 2017, but he was outbid by Stage Stores. It's most certainly an intriguing "what if" scenario to imagine what could have taken place had he won the auction instead...


Despite the orange Nike sign in the background, I'm pretty sure this shot was taken from the left side of the store, looking over to the right (i.e., that Nike sign is not in the shoe department). Looks like this area was home to women's accessories and, beyond that, some other holiday doorbusters.


Before we head out, here's a look at the small register area front and center in the store. Some more rare décor bits and pieces can be found in this view, such as the "Customer Service" and "Online Pick Up" signage, as well as the custom "A Thirst For Fashion" refrigerated Coke case, which I found interesting.


Last but not least, as we exit the store, here's a shot of the "Gordmans opening 2020" signage on the doors again. I took this in excitement and anticipation of what was to come, but now it only serves as a sad reminder of what wound up never taking place :(



Above, you'll find one more exterior pic of the store -- by this time, nightfall had most definitely arrived, but I think my phone camera's "night sight" feature performed pretty well! -- as well as one of the shopping bags obtained from our purchase. I liked how it had all of Stage Stores' nameplates on there, including Gordmans.


That December 2019 visit took place on my way home from college for Christmas break, and was to be the last time I would pass by the Senatobia Goody's for a while, as I began an internship in January that lasted through spring break. This is an extremely crappy shot, but sure enough, the next time I passed the store in March 2020, returning home from my internship, I could make out the traditional red-and-black liquidation signs in Goody's windows. 

Below is a much better pic of the store during its last 12 days, which I found on LoopNet. The space currently sits vacant.

Courtesy LoopNet

I did not revisit the store during its true going-out-of-business sale, but later in 2020 I did travel to a Gordmans conversion that actually did go through. So, in lieu of being able to see this Senatobia Goody's post-Gordmans-conversion (sniff), in a future post we'll get to experience that other store, to see what these conversions were all about as well as (importantly) gain the ability to compare them to the "original" Gordmans, which of course you all are hopefully familiar with from the Southaven store album in my flickr photostream (linked earlier in this post). Not to mention, I also -- naturally -- got plenty of pictures of that Southaven store's going-out-of-business sale, too (its second in four years!), which I'll get around to posting to flickr sometime soon(ish).

I hope you'll stick around for all of that content! More immediately, however, our next post will return the topic at hand to Kroger, and will combine a contributor post, a "Lost Histories" post, and a "Beyond the Mid-South" post all in one. Definitely exciting, so please stay tuned for that one as well! Until then and as always, thanks for reading, and have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are :)

Retail Retell