Shopko announces 1,715 additional layoffs as liquidation begins

Company to close all stores by June

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Green Bay-based Shopko will layoff an additional 1,715 workers as the company winds down its retail operations.

A WARN notice filed Thursday with the state Department of Workforce Development lists 39 Wisconsin store locations that will be affected beginning June 16, including optical store locations in Mequon and Waukesha, both with four employees.

The announcement comes almost two weeks after Shopko said it would close all stores throughout its Central, Western and the Pacific Northwest footprint and begin liquidation sales, taking place over the next 10 to 12 weeks.

In January, the retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, initially announcing it would close 107 stores, later climbing to 251 stores.

The shutdown occurs as Shopko was unable to find a buyer to keep its retail operations afloat, but it is “evaluating strategic options for its optical business,” the company said in a March 18 news release.

Those freestanding optical locations had seen success in 2018, so the company had originally planned to relocate over 20 optical stores to freestanding locations and open additional freestanding optical locations later this year. Before the wind-down, the company’s Mequon and Waukesha opticals would have been the only Shopko stores in southeastern Wisconsin and two of just 39 locations slated to remain open.

Shopko joins a growing roster of struggling brick-and-mortar retailers that have recently closed stores, filed for bankruptcy or have gone out of business, including Bon Ton, Payless ShoeSource, Charlotte Russe, Gymboree, Toys ‘R’ Us and Sears.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer covers restaurants, retail, tourism, and sports and entertainment. She joined BizTimes in 2015, previously as an intern reporter. She earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University in 2017. When she's not on the job, Maredithe coaches field hockey and loves exploring her favorite city on earth, Milwaukee.

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