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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Aéropostale Files Bankruptcy May 2016

We assume you have already heard the news.  Sorry to say, but another fashion retailer goes chapter 11.  Obviously this does not mean that they will disappear, but these are never good signs for the state of the garment industry.

On May 4, 2016 Aéropostale, Inc. took the next steps in its ongoing business transformation by filing voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.  The Company expects to use the Chapter 11 process to optimize its store footprint, access additional tools to shed or renegotiate burdensome contracts, resolve its ongoing disputes with Sycamore Partners and achieve long-term financial stability.

The Company intends to emerge from the Chapter 11 process within the next six months as a standalone enterprise with a smaller store base, increased operating efficiencies and reduced SG&A expenses. The Company is also continuing its previously announced sale process to confirm that it is maximizing the value of its assets and achieving the best possible outcome for stakeholders. Any potential sale would be expected to be completed within the next six months.

As part of this effort to position the Company for long-term success, Aéropostale is reviewing its leases and other contracts to ensure they are competitive with current market dynamics. The Company today announced an initial store closure list of 113 U.S. locations, as well as all 41 stores in Canada.  Store closing sales are scheduled to begin in the United States during the weekend of May 7-8, 2016, and in Canada during the week of May 9, 2016.

In conjunction with the Chapter 11 filings, Aéropostale secured a commitment for $160 million in debtor-in-possession ("DIP") financing provided by Crystal Financial LLC, which, combined with operating cash flow, will allow Aéropostale to meet its go-forward financial commitments.

The Company has also filed a series of motions that, pending Court approval, will allow it to pay employee wages and benefits without interruption, honor all gift cards in full, uphold the terms of its international licensing agreements, and pay suppliers in the normal course of business. These motions are typical in the Chapter 11 process and are generally heard in the first days of the case. The Company separately expects to use provisions in the Bankruptcy Code that require suppliers to meet the terms of their pre-existing contracts.

Additional information can be found at www.ARORestructuring.com. Suppliers and landlords may call our support center +1 (917) 877-5966 or toll-free at +1 (855) 360-2999. They also may email suppliers@aeropostale.com or landlords@aeropostale.com.


Aéropostale is advised in this transaction by Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, Stifel Financial Corp. and FTI Consulting.

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