Women’s apparel and shoe retailer Nine West Holdings filed for bankruptcy protection Friday as traditional stores struggle to get back on their feet amid declining mall traffic.
The retailer, which also operates the Anne Klein and Gloria Vanderbilt brands and has already closed all of its 71 stores, said it had secured bankruptcy financing to continue operating while it seeks to shed debt.
The company has reached a tentative deal to sell its Nine West and Bandolino footwear and handbag business to conglomerate Authentic Brands Group, which controls the brands of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali and others.
A bankruptcy judge would have to approve that deal now that Nine West is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, and it’s possible a more lucrative alternative could emerge.
Nine West products are sold in more than 1,200 locations. The company’s standalone locations are closed, spokesperson Ruth Pachman said in an email.
The sale and bankruptcy could position the retailer to emerge as a healthier company focused on several key brands, including Anne Klein.
But Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a perilous place, and it doesn’t always work out as executives hope. Look no further than Toys R Us, which filed for bankruptcy in September with hopes of surviving but recently moved to liquidate.
Nine West joins a list of footwear retailers to recently plunge into bankruptcy, including Payless ShoeSource in 2017.
“We will retain our strong, profitable and growing apparel, jewelry, and jeanswear businesses and continue to operate them under a new capital structure so that we can leverage their existing strengths to drive even greater growth,” CEO Ralph Schipani said in a statement.
The filing comes about four years after private equity firm Sycamore Partners acquired Nine West parent company Jones Group.
Sycamore later orchestrated a sale of Nine West’s Stuart Weitzman and Kurt Geiger brands in a pair of deals that reportedly may have placed Nine West in acompromised financial position.