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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On September 18, 2020, it was reported, with a base purchase offer of $40.8 million for plus-size brand Catherines, plus apparel conglomerate FullBeauty emerged as the winner Wednesday at the Ascena brand's bankruptcy auction. The winning bid more than doubles the August $16 million stalking horse bid from City Chic. That plus e-retailer is now the back-up bidder, with a $39.9 million offer, according to court documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court For The Eastern District Of Virginia in Richmond. Ascena also notified the court this week that it will permanently close 23 more stores run by its Justice tween apparel brand, according to another court document.
    • On September 15, 2020, it was reported, the 118-year-old J.C. Penney Company Inc. has been bought. Mall operators Brookfield Property Group and Simon Property Group have partnered to purchase a substantial part of J.C. Penney's retail and operating assets for $1.75 billion. At a Bankruptcy Court hearing, the retailer's lawyers said that Simon and Brookfield would pay about $300 million in cash and assume $500 million in debt, according to the New York Times. The mall operators will operate J.C. Penney's retail business, and its creditors would own a part of its real estate, the Times added. J.C. Penney said it expects to complete the auction and emerge from the Court-supervised process operating under the J.C. Penney banner in advance of the 2020 holiday season
    • On September 15, 2020, it was reported, Francesca's Holdings Corp. issued a "going concern'' warning as it swung to a second-quarter loss amid a 29% decrease in sales. "The COVID-19 pandemic has and continues to result in an overall disruption in the company's operations and supply chain," the company said in a statement. "As a result, the company's revenues, results of operations and cash flows continue to be materially adversely impacted which raises substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as going concern." Francesca's, which operates 700 stores, has engaged FTI Capital Advisors to help it evaluate various alternatives to improve its liquidity and financial position. Some of the options include further lease concessions and deferrals, further reductions of operating and capital expenditures, raising additional capital, seeking a refinancing of the company's debt, and restructuring its debt and liabilities through a private restructuring or a restructuring under the protection of applicable bankruptcy laws. "During this review, we will continue to move forward operating the business while maintaining disciplined inventory and cost management," stated CEO Andrew Clarke. The company had a net loss of $17.2 million, or $5.80 a share, in the quarter ended Aug. 1, compared to net income of $1.8 million, or $0.61 a share, in the year-earlier period.
    • On September 14, 2020, it was reported, women's apparel seller J. Jill forged an agreement with major lenders that allows it to avoid Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company said in a press release Friday. Lenders representing nearly 98% of J. Jill's term loan agreed to an out-of-court transaction that the company said would add liquidity and financial flexibility. The deal is expected to close around Sept 30. Under the deal, J. Jill gets an extended maturity on the applicable part of its term loan, to May 2024, while also receiving a covenant "holiday" through the fourth quarter of 2021 and $15 million in a junior term loan facility.