YM Inc. has emerged as the stalking-horse bidder in retailer Wet Seal LLC’s bankruptcy case with a $1.5 million offer for the firm.
YM is a Canada-based retailer that owns a portfolio of brands including West 49, Stitches, Urban Planet, Sirens, Urban Behavior, Urban Kids, Bluenotes, Suzy and Amnesia.
The bid is a haircut from the $7.5 million private equity firm Versa Capital Management LLC paid for the brand in April 2015 when it bought the company out of its first bankruptcy and speaks to how far Wet Seal, which had at one time been a trendsetter and staple in many teens’ closets, has fallen. The company had in more recent years seen a number of chief executives, each implementing their own strategy for the business. However, nothing seemed to stick with outside forces such as Forever 21 and H&M along with a fundamental shift in how consumers shop today weighing heavily on the retailer’s ability to ultimately turn.
Declining mall traffic and expensive leases continued to be a drain on the business after it emerged from its first bankruptcy, Wet Seal’s executive vice president and chief financial officer Judd Tirnauer said in court documents.
Wet Seal management had attempted to find capital to pump into operations but was unable to do so, triggering its second bankruptcy filing in early February.
The Irvine, Calif.-based company had already begun store liquidation sales just ahead of that filing in late January, with those store closing sales online and off continuing through February.
The company’s committee of unsecured creditors warned this month of insolvency for Wet Seal if it continued to give priority to paying senior debt obligations, pointing out revenue from the store-closing sales would not be enough to pay off administrative fees.
An auction is scheduled for Thursday, if additional bids for the company come in.