Serving as an unexpected light in the retail crisis brought on by the Covid-19 virus pandemic, Neiman Marcus has officially come out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to reports, the luxury department store has cleared a sizeable amount of debts and has brought on new owners to reimagine its business.
Neiman Marcus has officially come out of bankruptcy, a process that left the upscale department store with a lighter debt load and new owners to confront the same industry trends that led to its financial woes.
The Ares Management Corp. and Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board have now sold their stakes in Neiman Marcus Holding Company Inc. to Pacific Investment Management Co., Davidson Kempner Capital Management and Sixth Street Partners. Accompanying the change of owners is new board comprised of six members including, Pauline Brown, the former chairman of North America for LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, and Kris Miller, the former chief strategy officer at eBay.
Under new management and board, the retailer eliminated more than $4 billion USD of existing debt and now looks to combat the continuing challenges that put it into bankruptcy. The new owners have also prepared a $750 million USD exit package that will go towards refinancing a loan and bring much needed liquidity to the business.
With the financial cleanup completed, Neiman Marcus and its Bergdorf Goodman store still must deal with the pandemic’s fallout, shopper defections to online merchants and a preference among younger customers for experiences instead of objects.
The current environment for a fashion luxury retailer isn’t ideal. The company was hit particularly hard by the pandemic. The Neiman Marcus Group temporarily closed its 43 Neiman Marcus and two Bergdorf Goodman stores nationwide in compliance with guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, although 31 locations have gradually started to reopen. The company filed for court protection in May.
The new owners “understand the value of our brands and the opportunity for growth”, said a Geoffroy van Raemdonck, the chief executive officer who kept his position during the bankruptcy process and will now lead the turnaround effort.
Some of Neiman’s creditors and retail peers couldn’t say the same. Lord & Taylor has been running going-out-of-business sales, and Stein Mart Inc. is being dismantled. Marble Ridge Capital, a creditor that peppered Neiman Marcus with objections to its debt maneuvers before and after the bankruptcy filing, is being wound down after co-founder Dan Kamensky’s tactics drew criminal charges.
“While the unprecedented business disruption caused by Covid-19 has presented many challenges, it has also given us the opportunity to reimagine our platform and improve our business”, said van Raemdonck. “We emerge from Chapter 11 as a stronger, more innovative retailer, brand partner, and employer”.