Another week, another set of retail bankruptcies. Brooks Brothers, the oldest apparel company in the United States, has filed Chapter 11, and is seeking a buyer as it closes dozens of stores. Home cooking chain Sur La Table has also filed for bankruptcy,
Founded in 1818, the company has secured $75 million in debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) financing facility from WHP Global, a leading brand management firm, subject to court approval.
“For over 200 years, Brooks Brothers has remained resilient, navigating evolving fashion trends, fluctuating economic cycles, and even world wars,” said Claudio Del Vecchio, chairman and chief executive officer. “Our priority is to start this important chapter with a new owner that has appreciation for the Brooks Brothers legacy, a vision for its future, and aligns with our core values and culture. Prior to COVID-19, we were already conducting an evaluation of various strategic options to position the company for future success in a rapidly transforming retail environment, including a potential sale of the business. Industry headwinds were only intensified by the pandemic. Seeking protection to facilitate an efficient sale of the business is the best next step for the Company to achieve its goals, over any other alternative.”
Plans call for a competitive auction where parties can submit qualified bids. Brooks Brothers expects to complete the sale process in the next few months, pending court approval. The company had already decided to close approximately 51 Brooks Brothers stores in the United States, and have closed, or are in the process of closing such stores. The Company’s restructuring counsel is Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, its restructuring advisor is Ankura Consulting Group and its financial advisor is PJ Solomon L.P.
Sur La Table, a cooking and entertaining retailer, also filed for bankruptcy protection, with the company planning for the sale of a number of its stores. As of July 4, 121 stores across the country had reopened.