The silence from Filene’s Basement Inc., the off-pricer known for its annual bridal gown sale, has been deafening.
Credit sources have said for the last few weeks that Filene’s could be at risk for an involuntary bankruptcy because it seems to be neither paying its vendors nor showing any interest in communicating with them.
Lawrence C. Gottlieb, chair of the bankruptcy and restructuring practice at Cooley Godward Kronish, said, “My understanding is that the company is not returning any phone calls to vendors.”
Bob Carbonell, executive vice president and chief credit officer at Bernard Sands Credit Consultants, said, “We have clients who have not been paid since January. Filene’s management is not returning their calls nor giving any answers via e-mails as to when they will be paid.”
Carbonell added that it is “well-known in the vendor-factor community that there is an ad hoc creditors committee in play.”
Bernard Sands stopped supporting Filene’s on Jan. 22, when the company said it was planning to shutter 11 stores, and before that, Bernard Sands was considering approvals on an order-to-order basis.
The ad hoc creditors committee could conceivably haul Filene’s into an involuntary bankruptcy. A legal source said the basic requirements for such a move are that the involuntary debtor has not been paying bills when due and that there are at least three creditors owed payments.
A spokeswoman for Filene’s said the firm “is continuing to aggressively pursue strategic alternatives for the benefit of the company and our valuable vendor partners. We have told our vendors this and we have told them that we will communicate with them as soon as we have developments to report.”
Filene’s Basement, which operates 25 locations, opened in 1909, and became part of Federated Department Stores Inc., now Macy’s Inc., in 1929. It was sold to May Department Stores Co. in 1988, and then acquired in 2000 by Value City Department Stores LLC.
After a reorganization at Value City, Filene’s Basement became part of Retail Ventures Inc., the holding company that operates Filene’s and discount footwear retailer DSW Inc.
Should an involuntary petition be filed by creditors against Filene’s Basement, neither DSW nor RVI would be parties to the bankruptcy, although RVI might have to make some appearances in the bankruptcy case. RVI is guarantor of certain obligations under a loan agreement between Filene’s and its bankers, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last month. That filing also noted the liquidity concerns at Filene’s Basement.
Separately, Inlet Square Mall on March 19 filed for bankruptcy in South Carolina under the name of its operating company, Inlet Retail Associates. Meanwhile, all eyes in retail are keeping tabs on troubled real estate investment trust General Growth Properties.
In other bankruptcy news, the future remains unclear for Everything but Water, an Orlando, Fla.-based designer swimwear retailer. Founded in 1984 and operating 60 stores in 22 states, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection on Feb. 25. The bankruptcy court has scheduled an auction of its assets for April 27.
Hendricks Jewelers, a 27-year-old superstore in its second tour of bankruptcy proceedings, expects to conclude a going-out-of-business sale over the course of the next 60 days with the help of Buxbaum Jewelry Advisors. The 12,000-square-foot Bonita Springs, Fla.-based showroom is liquidating its entire inventory, valued at $8 million at retail, at 40 to 80 percent off.
Also liquidating is Drug Fair, which began GOB sales on Saturday at the 23 Drug Fair and Cost Cutters nameplates. Hudson Capital Partners is handling the liquidation of $30 million in inventory. Founded in 1954, the Somerset, N.J.-based firm filed on March 18 in Delaware, with GOB sales starting three days later.
Sportsman’s Warehouse filed a Chapter 11 petition on Saturday in Delaware bankruptcy court. The retailer plans to continue operating its remaining 29 stores, and said the filing was to “address financial challenges and identify a strategic or financial investor.” The firm on March 10 said it was liquidating 23 stores to reduce bank debt and selling 15 stores to UFA Co-op.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye