RTW Retailwinds, parent company of women’s apparel retailer New York & Co., announced Monday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, adding it plans to close most if not all of its nearly 400 stores and seek a buyer for its ecommerce business and related intellectual property.
The company in the meantime plans to continue operations, including reopening of stores where appropriate, paying vendors and suppliers and maintaining payroll. RTR Retailwinds had signaled in June that a bankruptcy filing was likely, and its stock stopped trading as of July 7.
“The combined effects of a challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have caused significant financial distress on our business, and we expect it to continue to do so in the future,” said Sheamus Toal, CEO and CFO of RTW Retailwinds in a release. “As a result, we believe that a restructuring of our liabilities and a potential sale of the business or portions of the business is the best path forward to unlock value. I would like to thank all of our associates, customers, and business partners for their dedication and continued support through these unprecedented times.”
In its annual report filed with the SEC in June, RTW Retailwinds said its inventory in stores and distribution centers was “aged and has been significantly impaired” due to COVID-related shutdowns. It also said it was working with landlords to defer rent payments until its stores reopened, and had been receiving default notices from them.
RTW Retailwinds operates 260 New York & Co. stores, 114 New York & Co. outlets and four Fashion to Figure plus-size women’s apparel stores; it has closed 179 stores since 2014. The company reported liabilities of about $396 million and assets of about $412 million in its bankruptcy filing in New Jersey, according to Newsday.
Online sales had been a bright spot for New York & Co. even though retail sales had suffered, Newsday reported, as were fashion collections from actresses Gabrielle Union, Eva Mendes and Kate Hudson.