Fresno’s Patrick James blames COVID for bankruptcy, closures



The coronavirus pandemic has caused Patrick James, the Fresno-based men’s clothing retailer, to file for bankruptcy with plans to close stores.

The company has sold upscale men’s clothing – like Tommy Bahama and its own line of shirts and jackets – since 1962.

It has 11 stores in California, Nevada and Arizona, plus a temporary pop-up store in River Park near Ruth’s Chris Steak House through the end of the month.

The company announced last week that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It’s a reorganization, not a liquidation.

Patrick James has more than $7 million in debt, and its bankruptcy was filed under a special designation for small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The business was doing “extremely well” before COVID-19 hit, according to Patrick James’ bankruptcy attorney, Hagop Bedoyan of McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte & Carruth.

“With the pandemic and closing of doors as mandated by the state of California and other states, it really killed the business,” Bedoyan said.

Sales also dropped because people had fewer places to dress up and go out to, Bedoyan added.

Other high-end retailers like Neiman Marcus, Brooks Brothers, J. Crew and the owner of Jos. A. Bank have all filed for bankruptcy in recent months.

Without money coming in, it was difficult for Patrick James to pay rent, Bedoyan said.

Bankruptcy allows the retailer to break leases with shopping centers and close stores. It’s not clear yet how many stores or which ones will close, he said.

Patrick James’ online and catalog sales will continue.

Company president Patrick Mon Pere Jr., who is a son of the company founder, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Mon Pere announced on Twitter last month that the company was closing its Palo Alto store after more than 40 years.

“I want to thank all of you for your loyal patronage through the years, and for the friendship and courtesy that was always shown to all of us at Patrick James,” he said.

He told Palo Alto Online that the store’s sales dropped 77% in July, the month it reopened after retail restrictions were lifted, followed by an 80% decline in sales in August.

Patrick James has a store in Fig Garden Village, with most of its stores located in Northern California.

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Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.

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