Fashion

Potential buyer line up as America's oldest fashion retailer files for bankruptcy


The bankruptcy filing of America’s oldest
apparel retailer Brooks Brothers has ignited significant interest
from potential buyers for the brand.

WHP Global and a venture backed by Authentic Brands Group LLC and
Simon Property Group, Inc., are reportedly considering bids for the
retailer. WHP Global owns the Anne Klein and Joseph Abboud brands.

New York-based brand management firm WHP Global has committed
debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing of 75 million dollars for the retailer,
subject to court approval, to support ongoing business operations
throughout the sales process.

The beleaguered retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on
Wednesday as it closes down dozens of stores and seeks a buyer.

Founded more than two centuries ago, the apparels of the iconic
Brooks Brothers brand were worn by nearly 40 past U.S. Presidents,
including Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. It was the first
American brand to offer ready-to-wear clothing. It also crafted U.S.
military uniforms from the Civil War through today.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the retailer had begun to evaluate
various strategic options, including a potential sale of the
business. Amid the outbreak, it decided to close down 51 of its
stores in North America.

Founded in New York, Brooks Brothers has become an international
retailer with over 250 stores in North America and 500 worldwide in
45 countries.

The retailer said it will continue to serve customers online and will
proceed with a plan to reopen a majority of the 51 retail stores that
were temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

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The company noted that it will commence a competitive auction where
parties can submit qualified bids. It expects to complete the sale
process over the next few months, pending court approval.

Brooks Brothers survived two world wars and managed to keep afloat
during the Great Depression in the 1930s and the 2008 global
financial crisis.

Across the country, the majority of retail stores have been forced to
close stores for months due to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions,
hurting their sales. Even before the pandemic outbreak, slowing foot
traffic amid the ever-increasing online competition from industry
majors and the changing consumer habits had led to many retailers
shuttering stores and seek bankruptcy protection.

Recently the pandemic outbreak has pushed retailers such as J. Crew,
J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus into bankruptcy.(DPA)



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