Carson's will close its department stores in Southlake Mall in Hobart, the Marquette Mall in Michigan City and in Hammond, where the three-story store is all that remains of the once-thriving but now largely demolished Woodmar Mall.
The retailer, previously known as Carson Pirie Scott, had been a popular shopping destination in Northwest Indiana since at least 1954, when it opened in Woodmar at Indianapolis Boulevard and 165th Street in South Hammond.
Parent company The Bon Ton Stores, which operates about 260 department stores across the country, filed for bankruptcy in February and sold its assets to liquidators during a bankruptcy court-supervised auction Tuesday.
Second Lien Note Holders, Great American Group LLC and Tiger Capital Group look to wind down the retailer and liquidate all its inventory. Judge Mary Walrath previously rejected a due diligence payment to mall operators that had wanted to keep the department store chain open as a going concern.
Now more than 20,000 people will lose their jobs, including hundreds in Northwest Indiana.
"While we are disappointed by this outcome and tried very hard to identify bidders interested in operating the business as a going concern, we are committed to working constructively with the winning bidder to ensure an orderly wind-down of operations that minimizes the impact of this development on our associates, customers, vendors and the communities we serve," Bon Ton Stores Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Tracy said. "We are incredibly grateful to all of our associates for their dedicated service to Bon-Ton and to our millions of loyal customers who we have had the pleasure to serve as their hometown store for more than 160 years.”
The Bon Ton Stores already filed Workers Adjustment and Retraining Act, or WARN, Notices in Indiana and other states that let it shut down its stores and lay off all its employees within 60 days. Carson's employs 137 workers at Southlake and fewer at its stores in Hammond and Michigan City.
The troubled retailer closed the Carson's department store at River Oaks Center in Calumet City several years ago, and shuttered the replacement Carson's Clearance Outlet in Lansing last year.