Parker School Uniforms, one of the largest providers of school uniforms in the country, abruptly closed all of its stores and laying off all employees. That said, the Houston-based company did file a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) report with the Texas Workforce Commission on January 5 saying it was laying off 320 people, effective January 3. The company apologized for any inconvenience it has caused.
Calls to the company’s corporate office have gone unanswered and its Facebook page has been deleted, as has its Twitter account and Instagram feed. The Parker School Uniforms web site is offline, but a cached version is still available. According to the site, Parker School Uniforms was offering a 35% off sale on all in-stock merchandise in December.
Perhaps most tellingly though is the press release the company sent out on October 4, 2017. In it, Parker School Uniforms says it “has launched the first phase of its retail alignment aimed at meeting the evolving shopping needs of its customers.” This basically entailed shuttering 15 underperforming stores on December 9, 2017. Customers needing to buy anything from Parker School Uniforms were encouraged to visit parkersu.com, which, less than one month later, was also shut down.
“Our customers’ needs and expectations are changing. If we want to remain a leader in this industry, we must take the sometimes difficult steps that allow our retail strategy to evolve with the changing customer expectations in the marketplace,” said Cindy Jorgensen, vice president of the store operation.
The company then listed the 15 locations it was shuttering, including Arizona (one), California (four), Georgia (four), Tennessee (one), and Texas (five).
Parker School Uniforms store employees impacted by the closure were offered the chance to transfer to a nearby store or take a “tenure-appropriate severance package.” It looks like it was a lose-lose situation either way.
After ignoring the media, Parker School Uniforms sent an e-mail to ABC 13 in Houston. In the statement, management stated, “As you are aware, for the past several months, Parker has been actively seeking capital, financing, and refinancing through financial institutions and other companies. Parker believed that it would be successful in obtaining the necessary capital and that, if it had, it would have been able to avoid the closure of the business. Further, if Parker had provided earlier notice, it would have it undermined its efforts to obtain additional outside capital due to potential investors concerns about doing business with a troubled company or a company whose employees were looking for other jobs. Unfortunately, as of today, Parker has exhausted all reasonable avenues available to it without success.”
“Accordingly, effective today, we are permanently shutting down all of our operations, including the entire corporate headquarters, and terminating all employees,” the statement adds. “A few employees in key positions may be asked to stay on to assist with winding-down the business; there are no bumping rights. We will reach out to such employees separately.”
We will have to wait and see if this actually happens.
“Parker School Uniforms WARN Notice,” Texas Workforce Commission, last accessed January 12, 2018.
“Parker School Uniforms may be closed after decades clothing private schoolers,” Houston Chronicle, January 11, 2018.
“Parker School Uniforms,” Parker School Uniforms, last accessed January 12, 2018.
“Parker School Uniforms launches retail realignment,” Parker School Uniforms, October 24, 2017.
“Parents left scrambling after sudden closing of Parker Uniform stores,” ABC 13, last accessed January 12, 2018.