Stage Stores, whose properties include locations in Plaquemine and Gonzales, filed bankruptcy late Sunday night, months after they planned to rebrand those locations.

The Houston-based company had been a mainstay for decades in both cities, along with Baton Rouge, Denham Springs in other areas.

The Plaquemine location had operated for nearly 40 years, first in a shopping center on La. 1 now occupied by Walgreens. It relocated to Belleview in a building which previously housed Walmart when it first opened in Plaquemine in the early 1980s.

Stage had hoped to keep those stores and others in operation, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic sealed the fate for the chain, which has 738 stores across six brands in small towns and rural areas across the United States.

“The increasingly challenging market environment was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which required us to temporarily close all of our stores and furlough the vast majority of our associates,” Michael Glazer, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement. “Given these conditions, we have been unable to obtain necessary financing and have no choice but to take these actions.”

The company also included Palais Royal, Peebles and Gordman’s, an off-price chain that was set to replace Stage in Plaquemine and Gonzales.

A huge debt load, along with the loss of customers to online recital, also played a part in the company’s decision to fold.