As 2020 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect back on a wild and crazy year in retail, to paraphrase the Festrunk brothers from Saturday Night Live. COVID-19 came in like a wrecking ball in February and March, causing widespread shutdowns that hit retail especially hard, leading to hockey-stick growth in ecommerce.
A partnership between mall giant Simon Property Group and apparel licensing firm Authentic Brands has made a $305 million bid to acquire the assets and intellectual property of Brooks Brothers out of bankruptcy court, according to various media reports. The partnership, named Sparc LLC, plans to keep at least 125 stores open.
RTW Retailwinds, parent of apparel retailer New York & Co., filed for bankruptcy protection, adding it plans to close most if not all of its nearly 400 stores and seek a buyer for its ecommerce business. The company plans to continue operations, including re-openings where appropriate, paying vendors and suppliers and employees.
Brooks Brothers, famous for its pinstriped suits worn by 40 of the 45 U.S. presidents and legions of executives since its 1818 founding in New York, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing the impact of COVID-19 as a major factor. The company, with $1 billion in sales and $300 in debt, expects to find a buyer shortly.
Neiman Marcus Group, owner of the 43-store chain of the same name as well as two Bergdorf Goodman locations and Last Call discount shops, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as expected, in the process securing $675 million in loans from creditors. The filing also calls for a long-term plan to eliminate $4 billion of debt.