Century 21

Century 21 department stores were a chain of department stores in the United States, based in New York City. They had 13 locations across the country but on December 6th, 2020 they closed.

The closing was blamed on a combination of factors, including the rapidly changing retail landscape due to the influences from e-commerce. The stores were previously owned by May Department Stores but were sold to Grandsons in 2013.

In an effort to save the struggling chain, they invited Century 21 to be one of their anchor stores at several locations throughout the country. This did not work and the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Fall 2020. Despite this measure, it wasn’t enough and all 13 locations closed permanently after Black Friday (November 28th).

They sold women’s apparel and accessories, cosmetics, and home goods. They were famous for hosting workshops on how to reinvent yourself the way you want to look like.

History behind Century 21 brand

Sonny, Ralph, and Al Gindi who lived in Brooklyn were wholesale fashion dealers in the 1960s. In 1971 they opened a retail store named Century 21 Department Store, which is an homage to the former Pan Am Building in New York City where the original was located. The running joke behind the name of the store is that their prices were about 21% lower than other department stores in NYC at that time and this is where they came up with the idea for their company name.

The Century 21 flagship location is a site of the former East River Savings Bank (eventually merged into Marine Midland). It occupies an office tower with 34 stories, and they recently added Financier Patisserie coffee shop to their third floor.

The store had a uniquely symbolic place in New York’s history. It became an emotional flashpoint during and after the September 11 attacks, when it was evacuated before both towers were hit by planes – one of which crashed into its own entranceway! The interior was significantly damaged from their collapse; yet despite this damage, people found themselves returning there again soon afterward because they always have such great deals on shoes.

When the firm opened its first location outside of New York in October 2014, it was housed on two floors former flagship store located in Center City Philadelphia.

In 2016, Century 21 announced it would open a location in the Shoppes at Stadium Place (a.k.a. The Shops at Stadium) in Columbia, South Carolina.

It also opened a location at Mall of America shortly before their store closings.

All remaining locations are scheduled to close by November 28th, 2020 after Black Friday sales or sooner if they run out of merchandise or liquidate assets ahead of time to pay outstanding debts owed to their creditors before then during bankruptcy proceedings for Chapter 11 protection.

Century 21 Department Stores were known for giving away free samples of products, especially when they first open the new location in malls locally across America.

Century 21 is known for its ‘Reinvention Workshops’ which they held on-site at the flagship location. They had an attitude that it wasn’t always about looking like a million dollars, but rather more about feeling like it, and how you feel is just as important as your appearance. The workshops would teach people ways to change up their usual style and make them more confident in how they look every day.  

Is all Century 21 going out of business?

No, but the brand is going out of business and they are all closing after the Black Friday sale or earlier if they sell off their entire inventory. The Best Century 21 Deals for Black Friday 2020 will be at the flagship location in New York City.

Century 21 Department Stores had locations throughout America, including one in Philadelphia which opened in October 2014 when it was located on two floors in former flagship store located at 1608 Chestnut Street and also inside Center City Mall (later rebranded as) “The Shops at Stadium” in Columbia, South Carolina and finally Mall of America in Minnesota just before November 28th, 2020.

They were known for hosting free Reinvention Workshops where they would teach you how to reinvent yourself with your current wardrobe and make you feel more confident about how you look.

Is Century 21 department store coming back?

No, they are closing all of their stores after Black Friday sales or sooner if they sell off their entire inventory.

Who bought Century 21?

Apollo Global Management LLC began negotiations to purchase Century 21 in 2013 for $1.013 billion, but it is unknown how much they paid out when the deal was complete on November 18th, 2017.

Century 21 locations had deals on shoes and apparel but never did sell clothes or other items besides shoes; they did however host free Reinvention Workshops where you can get advice on new styles for work or casual looks.

They also hosted fashion shows which were often held near holidays like Valentine’s Day or July 4th when summer fashions were available for sale.

What will replace Century 21 Stores?

There are some alternatives to Century 21 which are eerily similar in nature to its department store chain, including Burlington Coat Factory and Ross Dress for Less.

Century 21 was known for hosting free Reinvention Workshops where they would teach you how to reinvent yourself with your current wardrobe to make you feel more confident about how you look.

Is it the end of the brand?

No, but they are closing all of their physical locations after Black Friday sales or sooner if they sell off their entire inventory to creditors ahead of time before the bankruptcy protection filing.


Century 21 Department Stores are closing all locations after Black Friday sales or sooner if they sell off their entire inventory. The brand is going out of business, but the name will be sold to another company in the future that may start up a new store under a different name with similar products to what Century 21 previously offered.

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