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Century 21: a closer look at the reopening

By Gabriella Onessimo


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Image: Century 21 Facebook Page

Century 21, an off-price luxury goods retailer located in New York City’s Financial District, reopened its doors after a near three year closure after filing for bankruptcy. In a statement, the company cited Legends, a hospitality and entertainment group, as the main supporter of the grand homecoming.

Amid a buzz of excitement for the 60-year-old retailer’s comeback, the unveiling of Century 21 plans promised everything it was previously beloved for among New Yorkers: discounted designer clothing, accessories, and footwear in a 100,000-square-foot space, as well as a rebrand as Century 21 NYC.

The bankruptcy

In September 2020, the retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after failing to receive 175 million dollars from insurers, promptly closing all 13 stores across Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey, and in the flagship home of New York. Prior to the filing, Century 21 only closed one location in its tenure - the Cortlandt Street flagship, the site of the new opening - after being impacted by the nearby 9/11 attacks.

From laying off hundreds of workers to rolling out massive liquidation sales in 2020, Century 21 would “begin the closure of our beloved family business because our insurers, to whom we have paid significant premiums every year for protection against unforeseen circumstances like we are experiencing today, have turned their backs on us at this most critical time," said Co-Chief Executive Officer Raymond Gindi in a statement at the time of bankruptcy.

Initial plans for a comeback

The Gindis, the family behind the company, set out a plan in 2021 to restore the famed institution by bringing on a new president, Marc Benitez, to “reimagine and direct the implementation of the brand's relaunch strategy while staying true to its legacy and DNA,” as stated in a press release.

In addition to the changes in management, Century 21 bought back intellectual rights at the onset of the revival after tapping a private investor for 9 million dollars, according to the New York Post.

More about partnership with Legends Hospitality

With both a brick-and-mortar flagship and an e-commerce presence in the works, Century 21 has seemed to make a full—and swift—recovery from its complete closure from the onslaught of the pandemic. Though details of the partnership are not extensively specified, the sports and entertainment omnichannel Legends is the prominent sponsor of the new-and-improved Century 21.

According to their website, Legends specialises in pop-ups, e-commerce, and retail experiences, with some mainstay establishments including Yankee Stadium and One World Observatory.

Legends “specialises in delivering holistic solutions for sports and entertainment organisations and venues,” which lends some insight into their connection with Century 21. Dan Smith, President of Legends Hospitality, said in a statement that through their support of the retailer, “we have enhanced the in-store and e-commerce experience,” as Legends looks to bring the company to a global audience in 2023.

Century 21