In an anticipated comeback, Century 21 announced Tuesday that it will relaunch with a store at its famous flagship location across from the World Trade Center, according to a press release shared with Retail Dive.
The announcement comes after the off-price retailer’s founding family hinted at a comeback in February 2021. The Gindis family bought back the company’s intellectual property following the retailer’s bankruptcy in 2020.
The store will open in the spring of 2023 and involves a partnership with the global premium experience company Legends to “bring fans of the iconic brand an enhanced shopping experience in-store and online,” per the release. The retailer will also be adding “NYC” to their logo.
The department store retailer is a quintessential New York City landmark. It will be opening again at its downtown Cortlandt Street location — a store that was destroyed in the 9/11 attack and later rebuilt.
The news comes after a tumultuous few years, with the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020 after withdrawing a lawsuit against its insurers — the same insurers who helped them rebuild after 9/11 — claiming they hadn’t come through to support the retailer during the pandemic.
“Our flagship store has been a long-time symbol of this city’s resilience and unwavering spirit. In our 60- year history we have only closed our doors twice, once after the devastation of 9/11 and then again during the COVID-19 pandemic. But like the true New Yorkers we are, we have persevered,” Century 21 Co-Chief Executive Officer Raymond Gindi said in a statement.
The partnership with Legends will also bring a more streamlined customer shopping experience and an elevated e-commerce presence, per the release.
While Century 21 is starting its return to retail, the department store industry has not fared well in the aftermath of the pandemic. Most recently, Kohl’s board survived an activist challenge this month, and has several suitors interested in buying the company. J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy 2020, was bought by new owners and has since had a slew of C-suite turnover. Macy’s also experienced recent activist investor challenges, following a decline in department store sales.
However, as an off-pricer that specializes in deals on higher-end brands, Century 21 occupies a different niche in the world of department stores and no doubt, there are avid customers in the suburbs as well, eagerly awaiting a reopening in their former locations.