Credit & Capital

Brooks Brothers Files for Chapter 11

The company is closing stores and seeking a buyer.
Brooks Brothers Files for Chapter 11

Apparel brand Brooks Brothers has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware citing the “immensely disruptive” fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are in the process of identifying the right owner, or owners, to lead our iconic Brooks Brothers brand into the future,” a spokesperson for the company said. “It is critical that any potential buyer aligns with our core values, culture, and ambitions. Further details on the sale process will be made available in the coming days.”

The company said it has secured $75 million in debtor-in-possession financing from WHP Global. It secured a $20 million loan from Gordon Brothers in May.

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“Over the past year, Brooks Brothers’ board, leadership team, and financial and legal advisors have been evaluating various strategic options to position the company for future success, including a potential sale of the business,” a spokesperson said.

Earlier this year it began evaluating its North American stores and had already decided to close 51. The company has 250 stores in North America and more than 500 worldwide. It employs more than 4,000 people. In June, it said it would lay off almost 700 workers in three states.

Brooks Brothers reported more than $990 million in sales last year, but its business has been hurt by the global pandemic, which caused stores to close and led work-from-home employees to de-prioritize fashion. Men’s formal clothing sales fell 74% year over year for the period from April and June, according to GlobalData Retail.

Brooks Brothers was bought for $225 million from Marks and Spencer in 2001 by its current chief executive officer Claudio Del Vecchio. The company listed assets and liabilities between $500 million and $1 billion.

Retailers including J. Crew, Neiman Marcus and JCPenney have also filed for bankruptcy protection this month.