Le Cordée

Le Cordée, a Montreal, Quebec-based sports and outdoor goods retailer operating five stores in Quebec, filed an NOI on February 21, listing $22.2 million in liabilities, including $10.4 million to National Bank, $857.3 thousand to Arcteryx, and $839.0 thousand to North Face. The company is focused on its transformation, which will include refinancing its operating facility with another lender. MNP is the proposal trustee. EY is financial advisor to the company. PwC is financial advisor to National Bank. Counsel is Norton Rose Fulbright for the company and McCarthy Tétrault for National Bank.

Pier 1 Imports

Pier 1 Imports, a leading American retailer of home décor and accessories with 65 stores in Canada, had its US Chapter 11 bankruptcy recognized in Canada under the CCAA on February 18. Due to a challenging retail environment and certain strategic missteps under past management, the company experienced a decline in its performance, including substantial declines in revenue as well as operating losses and net losses. As of November 2019, the total liabilities of the company and seven of its subsidiaries were approximately $1.3 billion (USD). Moving forward, the company has decided to close all of its Canadian locations by the end of March 2020 as part of its overall restructuring, with Gordon Brothers handling the liquidation. The company will receive up to $256.0 million in DIP financing to continue its US operations during the Chapter 11 proceedings. Alvarez & Marsal was appointed information officer. Counsel is Osler for the company, Stikeman Elliott for the information officer Norton Rose Fulbright for the DIP senior credit facility lenders and Cassels for Gordon Brothers.

SFP Canada

SFP Canada, a Mississauga, Ontario-based company that operates 76 retail stores across Canada under the Papyrus, Carlton Cards, and Paper Destiny brand names, filed for protection under the CCAA on January 23, listing approximately $11.8 million in liabilities. The company is owned by Schurman Fine Papers ("SFP", and together with SFP Canada, the "Schurman Group"), the leading privately held American retailer of personal expression products in North America. American Greetings Corporation previously supplied the majority of products sold by the Schurman Group. In the past few years, the Schurman Group has faced various liquidity pressures caused by, amongst other things, the general downturn in the brick-and-mortar retail industry; the decline in the value of the Canadian dollar since 2009; and a significant price increase in American Greetings' products. As a result of these financial challenges, the Schurman Group fell behind on payments to American Greetings, and American Greetings terminated their agreements in December 2019. The Schurman Group can no longer operate as a going concern. On January 22, SFP filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US. Similarly, SFP Canada cannot continue operating without the full support of its US affiliates, on whom the company is entirely dependent. Richter was appointed monitor. Canadian counsel is Osler for SFP Canada, Stikeman Elliott for the monitor, and Blakes for American Greetings.

Thomas Sabo

Thomas Sabo Ltd./Ltee., a jewellery retailer, filed an assignment in bankruptcy on January 21, 2020. The purpose of the filing was to complete the restructuring of the Canadian operations from bricks and mortar to an e-commerce business model. With 11 remaining physical locations across Canada, after voluntarily closing other locations in the past, and employing approximately 80 employees, the company had been experiencing declining revenue and losses from most of its mall locations. Grant Thornton is the bankruptcy trustee. Dale and Lessmann LLP is counsel for the company.

Freemark Apparel Brands

Freemark Apparel Brands, a Montreal, Quebec-based retail company that operated Bench stores across Canada, filed an NOI on January 21, listing $41.0 million in liabilities, including $15.1 million to Accord Financial, $4.5 million to Gordon Brothers, and $1.5 million to Briva Financial. According to reports, the company will be shutting down all 24 of its brick-and-mortar stores as part of the restructuring and will shift its focus to the e-commerce side of its business. Richter is the proposal trustee.

CMS Toys/Halloween Alley

CMS Toys/Halloween Alley, an Edmonton, Alberta-based toy distributor and novelty retailer, filed an NOI on December 16, listing $8.1 million in liabilities. The Bowra Group is the proposal trustee.

Barrymore Furniture

Barrymore Furniture, a Toronto, Ontario-based manufacturer and retailer of high-end furniture with a history dating back to 1919, filed an NOI on November 29, listing $7.5 million in liabilities, including $3.7 million to HSBC and $454.5 thousand to BDC. Historically, the company achieved revenues of over $10.0 million in each of its fiscal years ended April 30, 2017 and 2018. From late 2018 to the fall of 2019, however, the company experienced a dramatic reduction in sales which caused substantive liquidity issues. In the last few months the company has been operating at unsustainable monthly losses and became overdrawn on its operating loan facility. The NOI filing is intended to give the company temporary relief from creditors to allow it to carry on business through the holiday season and canvas the market for potential buyers of its business and/or assets. Farber is the proposal trustee. Counsel is Loopstra Nixon for the company, Chaitons for the proposal trustee, TGF for HSBC and Lipman Zener & Waxman for BDC.

Bentley Leathers

Bentley Leathers, a Montreal, Quebec-based retailer of luggage, handbags and travel accessories, filed an NOI on November 26. Attributing its financial difficulties to changing consumer behavior and the impact of digital disruptions, the company plans to close 100 of its 250 stores across Canada through the proposal proceedings. KPMG is the proposal trustee. Hilco has been retained to liquidate the closing stores. Counsel is Davies for the company, McCarthy Tétrault for the proposal trustee, Osler for Hilco and Miller Thomson for CIBC, the company's senior lender owed approximately $18.0 million.

Bouclair

Bouclair, a Montreal, Quebec-based retailer of home fashion and decor products, filed an NOI on November 11. Founded in 1970, the company has grown to 92 locations across Canada and employs approximately 1,150 employees. It also sells online and through a wholesale business that operates internationally. Over the past few years, the company has struggled amidst increased competition from large-scale discount US retailers such as Walmart, and online retailers such as Amazon and Wayfair. Internally, the company has also faced issues. A new warehouse management system system led to operational difficulties, and various locations significantly underperformed as a result of high rents, the increase in minimum wage, and the company's inability to recruit strong talent to manage the stores. Cost-cutting measures have not returned the company to profitability. Through the proposal proceedings, the company will look to complete a transaction that will see a significant portion of the company's assets sold to a new investor group led by the company's current president. It is anticipated that 29 stores will be closed and liquidated as part of the restructuring. Deloitte is the proposal trustee. Richter is financial advisor to National Bank, the company's senior lender owed approximately $18.8 million. EY conducted the company's pre-filing SISP. Gordon Brothers is conducting the liquidation. RC Benson is CRO. Counsel is Stikeman Elliott for the company, Osler for the proposal trustee, Fasken for Gordon Brothers, McCarthy for National Bank and Davies for certain other subordinated lenders.

Forever XXI ULC

Forever XXI ULC, the Canadian operating subsidiary of US-based retailer Forever 21, obtained protection under the CCAA on September 29. The filing occurred on the same day the company's parent filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US. In Canada, the company operates 44 retail stores in malls across the country, selling apparel, accessories and other products under the Forever 21 and other related brands. While the company's initial expansion into the Canadian market in 2001 was promising, it has struggled to maintain profitability, and the vast majority of its stores are unprofitable. As part of its global restructuring plan, Forever 21 has determined that it will exit substantially all of its international markets, including Canada. Following a pre-filing bid solicitation process, the company selected Gordon Brothers and Merchant Retail Solutions to jointly conduct an orderly liquidation of the Canadian inventory and other assets. PwC was appointed monitor. Alvarez & Marsal is the company's financial advisor. Counsel is Osler for the company, Goodmans for the monitor, Norton Rose Fulbright for lender J.P. Morgan Chase, Cassels Brock for Gordon Brothers, Torys for Cadillac Fairview and Gardiner Roberts for Oxford Properties.

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