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Retail Roundup: Aldo Wraps Restructuring, Joules Calls in Debt Experts, Kohl’s Moves on and More

Retailers at home and abroad are figuring out their futures amid scorching inflation and a supply chain in tatters.

This week, Joules hired a debt specialist to shore up its cash position, while liquidators are hoping to find a home for bankrupt Gieves & Hawkes. Kohl’s is continuing to work on itself as the back-to-school season gets underway, as Aldo wrapped up a two-year-long restructuring.

Joules

Trouble surfaced in May when Joules said it might not make a profit and CEO Nick Jones said he was leaving the British home and garden retailer.

Despite strong third-quarter revenue growth, Joules didn’t sell quite as much product at full price, thanks to shipments held up in a congested supply chains. Earlier this week, it appointed KPMG’s debt advisory to protect its “profitability, cash generation and liquidity headroom.”

Joules was forced to take action after net debt ballooned 21.4 million pounds ($25.4 million) as of May 29. It currently has 11.3 million pounds ($13.4 million) of borrowing capacity. Companies only call in the experts when they’re truly in dire straits. The British retailer best known for selling colored Wellington boots also has to battle with inflation that means people are shopping less often for anything beyond the basic essentials. Joules shares ended Friday’s trading session at a company-low 20.80 pence ($0.25).

“Whilst the Group continues to manage its cash resources carefully over its seasonal borrowing peak, it expects to have sufficient liquidity to manage its working capital requirements over this time,” Joules said in a statement on Monday.

Gieves & Hawkes

Meanwhile, fellow British label Gieves & Hawkes is up for sale. Liquidators for parent Trinity Group are shopping the 250-year-old Saville Row tailor that services the British royal court. Questions about the menswear retailer’s future surfaced last year after corporate owner Shandong Ruyi fell on financial hard times and put liquidators in charge of Trinity, which purchased Gieves & Hawkes in 2012 for 32.5 million pounds ($38.7 million) plus earnouts. Liquidators also now own Trinity’s Kent & Curwen and Cerruti 1881 brands.

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Marks & Spencer’s (M&S) earlier interest in Gieves & Hawkes failed to materialize into a anything concrete. It wasn’t immediately clear if M&S or its private equity pals is still willing to court the suiting-first label. But with the brand languishing for the better part of the year, there’s a chance someone might be able to pick up the retailer for a cheaper price tag. Liquidators are hoping to the ink will dry on a deal by the third quarter for Gieves & Hawkes’ U.K. business and operations, and Greater China licensing agreements, according to a Bloomberg report.

Kohl’s Corp.

Fresh off a frenzied few months that failed to serve up a sale, Kohl’s is focusing on the new Discover @ Kohl’s store experience focused on curating products that will attract customers browsing in store. A designated back-to-school area will feature newer brands such as Ivory Ella’s elephant-saving sweatshirts and tees, as well active apparel, denim and T-shirts.

Ron Murray, interim chief merchandising officer, said Discover @ Kohl’s is helping the chain put “unique,” “emerging” and “hard to find” brands in front of customers who will “feel good” about these purchases.

“In fact, Discover @ Kohl’s has paved the way for us to introduce over 30 new diverse and women-owned brands just this year,” Murray added. Though October, the concept will focus on themes including Get Outside, Fall Family Fun and For Women by Women, a collection of female-founded activewear.

With fruitless Franchise Group deal talks in the rearview mirror, Kohl’s is now re-evaluating “monetization opportunities” for some of its real estate holdings, an activist investor-pleasing move that analysts and consultants have panned, pointing to Sears’ stunning downfall as a cautionary tale.

Aldo Group

The Aldo Group put its lengthy restructuring to bed more than two years after it filed for bankruptcy in Canada just two months into the Covid pandemic, with similar filings in the U.S., Switzerland, Ireland, as well as the U.K, where the business was sold to Bushell Investment Group.

“It is with great relief that we put this process behind us, and with excitement that we now look ahead,” CEO David Bensadoun said. “The work and restructuring we’ve done over the past two years have built us a solid foundation on which to grow, and we’re confident in what the future will bring.”

As of late June, all Aldo Group International creditors have been paid, with North American creditors in line to settle up within the next few months, the company said.

Aldo operates the Aldo and Call it Spring brands on top of the multi-brand Globo retail concept. With stores in 100-plus countries, it is also a wholesale distributor and third-party sourcing provider of fashion footwear, handbags and accessories.