On Friday it launched Super Weekend, which ended Sunday, a sales event that provided for discounts of between 30 percent and 60 percent in stores and online, including 30 percent off newly arrived spring merchandise. Super Weekend is the latest in a series of ongoing promotions that started even before the recent Thanksgiving Day-Black Friday kickoff to the holiday selling season.
In October, the women’s specialty retailer said its board approved the evaluation of “strategic alternatives,” which includes, but is not limited to, “partnerships, joint ventures or a sale or merger of the company.” It hired Perella Weinberg Partners as its financial adviser.
Sources familiar with some of the ongoing discussions said last week that the “sale process has not gone well.” Other sources said a few asset disposition firms have started circling around the specialty chain.
To be sure, the presence of liquidators doesn’t necessarily mean that a bankruptcy or liquidation is on the horizon. One option could involve a downsizing that entails store closures, speculated one of these individuals.
Sources said Coldwater currently is meeting with prospective lenders. In July, it closed on a $65 million senior secured term loan provided by Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm. It also has a $70 million revolving credit facility with Wells Fargo Capital Finance, which is set to mature on May 16, 2016. Sources said the company has enough liquidity to last through this spring, but a new facility will enable it to have more time for its turnaround efforts to gain some sort of foothold with consumers.
On Dec. 11, the Sandpoint, Idaho-based firm said its third-quarter net loss widened to $23.8 million, or 78 cents a diluted share, from a year-ago net loss of $20.5 million, or 67 cents. Net sales fell 17.9 percent to $154.5 million from $188.1 million. The last time it posted a quarterly profit was the second quarter of 2010. The last time it posted full-year profits was in 2006. It is set to post fourth-quarter and full-year results on March 5.
Shares of Coldwater slipped 1.6 percent to close at 88 cents in Nasdaq trading. It has until July 1 to raise its share price to $1 or risk delistment. The specialty chain has two big albatrosses: huge retail boxes and merchandise that hasn’t been resonating with the consumer.
Coldwater, which started as a catalogue firm selling Northwest-style fashions in 1984, began a push into brick-and-mortar four years later when it opened its first retail outlet on Cedar Street Bridge in Sandpoint, Idaho. One huge problem is that it expanded too aggressively with boxes far bigger than needed, critics have said. One of those contacts said the average-size store is 6,800 square feet. This person noted that Coldwater’s competitors such as Chico’s and Talbots have many stores that are just half the size of Coldwater’s boxes.
What the chain does have are decent real estate locations. “The real estate is in good markets and well located. They are in the areas where the demographics fit who is the chain’s targeted consumer,” said Andrew Graiser, copresident at A&G Realty Partners.
Lisle Davies, chief executive officer of consulting firm Davies + Co., said, “If there’s compelling product out there, people will buy.” As for Coldwater, Davies noted, “Their merchandise has not been resonating with the consumer. That, coupled with oversized stores, Coldwater can’t get the productivity it needs.”
According to Davies, the product at Coldwater is nondifferentiated and can be found somewhere else. “That’s different from a Talbots, which has a more conservative dress-up point-of-view for the professional woman, or Ann Taylor, which is more fashionable,” she added.
Consultant Walter Loeb said, “I’m not sure Coldwater has any meaning to customers. The assortments are confused. The stores are too large.…Coldwater targets women ages 40 to 60, but they already have Talbots as an option.”
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)