It’s not looking good for teen specialty retailer Rue21 Inc.
The private company has been on the default watchlists of financial analysts for months, and a spokesman said today that Rue21 has entered into forbearance agreements with its lenders that are set to expire at sometime late this month.
A forbearance agreement is essentially when a lender agrees to hold off on declaring a debt issuer in default when a loan payment is missed or other financial terms go unmet.
“Rue21 has been working to improve its operations and enhance its liquidity position and has been actively engaged with its lenders and bondholders to explore the best path forward,” the spokesman added.
When asked if an extension of the forbearance agreement beyond the end of the month was possible, the spokesman declined comment.
Without further forbearance from lenders, the retailer will likely default and be essentially forced into bankruptcy — for the second time.
Rue21’s first bankruptcy came in early 2002, when it was going by the name Pennsylvania Fashions Inc. It emerged under the new name the following year and went public a year after that.
Later, Rue21 was acquired in 2013 by private equity firm Apax Partners in for $1.1 billion.
The retailer has since struggled with dwindling sales and competition from retailers such as Zara and H&M in appealing to the teenage consumer while taking on an increasing amount of highly leveraged debt.
Rue21’s current net debt totals $824 million, according to data from DebtWire, $596 million of which is secured by collateral.
Earlier this year, Rue21 announced a handful of executive appointments, along with a renewed commitment to be a “completely customer-centric” company.
Should the retailer enter bankruptcy, it will have plenty of company. The Limited, The Wet Seal and BCBG Max Azria have all opted for bankruptcy over the last few months.
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