Nine West Reportedly Edging Closer to Bankruptcy, Could Sell Flagship Label to Authentic Brands Group

Reports that Nine West Holdings Inc. is edging closer to bankruptcy are once again surfacing.

Reuters today suggested the beleaguered footwear and accessories maker could file for Chapter 11 protection as soon as this week and sell the intellectual property of its flagship brand to Authentic Brands Group LLC.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported that proceeds from the sale will pay down some of Nine West’s approximately $1.5 billion in debt, increasing the chances that the company will emerge from a planned bankruptcy.

Nine West missed a debt interest payment in March, initiating a 30-day period in which the company must either make the payment or face bankruptcy, the wire service also reported.

If the bankruptcy deal does come to fruition, Nine West would be the latest fashion company to take this course of action amid a challenging retail climate. In 2017, a number of major fashion companies headed to bankruptcy court. Some closed down for good, while others sought temporary relief.

Payless sought Chapter 11 protection last April but quickly re-emerged in August. Payless, which had 4,400 stores in 30 countries and set out to close about 400 at the start of its bankruptcy proceedings, now has 3,500 brick-and-mortar outposts. The previously debt-saddled firm said it was able to shed about $435 million in funded debt. Its post-bankruptcy strategy emphasizes a focus on Hispanic consumers.

Last September, Aerosoles announced plans to restructure after filing Chapter 11 due to its outstanding loans. The company said its reorganized business will focus on e-commerce, wholesale and international businesses.

So far this year, The Walking Company and Bon-Ton Stores have also sought bankruptcy protection, filing in March and February respectively.

Authentic Brands Group, which last month announced its plans to snap up the Nautica Brand from VF Corp., is the owner and licensor for a range of lifestyle, celebrity and entertainment brands including Frye, Juicy Couture, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.

Nine West did not immediately respond to FN’s request for comment. ABG declined to comment.

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