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.
Luxury retail bellwether Nordstrom saw ecommerce growth of 5% to more than $1 billion in the first quarter of 2020, while overall sales dropped nearly 40% as COVID-19 locked down its retail side, the company reported. Nordstrom is also evolving its model to focus more on off price locations and ecommerce than mall stores.
Shortly after J.C. Penney filed Chapter 11, Amazon reportedly was in talks about possibly picking up the troubled store chain on the cheap. The plan calls closing 242 of 846 stores by 2021, setting up a real estate investment trust (REIT) to handle the balance of its physical assets and receiving $900 million in debtor-in-possession financing.
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.
Chinos Holdings, parent of preppy clothing retailer J. Crew and women’s apparel and accessories seller Madewell, filed Chapter 11 as part of a restructuring plan that calls for converting $1.65 billion of its debt to equity and securing $400 million in loans. This is the first major retailer to file for bankruptcy during the coronavirus crisis.
Retail was a mixed bag this week, as over a dozen states have begun to slowly reopen, working to come out the other side of the COVID-19 shutdown. Some retailers and malls are doing the same, hoping that enough returning shoppers and their pent-up demand for goods will help with massive cash flow and viability challenges.
The impacts of the coronavirus spread are being felt everywhere across retail and ecommerce, with first stores and now ecommerce operations shut down to comply with government orders, and warehouse workers and drivers testing positive, forcing facilities to close so they can be scrubbed and restarted.
This was a busy M&A week among operations and fulfillment vendors. FOG Software Group acquired shipping software firm ProShip from Quadient; Hy Tek Material Handling acquired Johnson Stevens Consulting; Dematic acquired Digital Applications International Ltd; and Aptean acquired TMS firm Paragon Software Systems.