September 4, 2020
Ernest Enterprises, a privately-owned retail company selling men’s suits and leisure wear with 37 locations primarily in Quebec, obtained protection under the CCAA on September 4. The company, which currently owes approximately $3.0 million to HSBC and $2.0 million to BDC, mainly attributes its financial difficulties to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the company was able to operate its online operations during the COVID-19 shutdowns, online sales have been insufficient to offset the lost revenue resulting from store closures. Demands of consumers have also changed due to work-from-home policies being implemented by many employers, as well as general financial uncertainty flowing from the crisis. In the context of very significant rental expenses and diminishing revenues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is anticipated that absent a restructuring under the CCAA, the company will face a looming liquidity crisis. HSBC has agreed to provide the company with interim financing during these CCAA proceedings. EY was appointed monitor. Counsel is Stikeman Elliott for the company, Norton Rose Fulbright for the monitor, Miller Thomson for BDC, and Davies for HSBC.