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Stein Mart’s Bankruptcy Suitor Wants to Pay $4 Million for IP

After filing a voluntary Chapter 11 petition in August, bankrupt Stein Mart has drawn a $4 million stalking-horse bid from Retail Ecommerce Ventures, the company that has restored some of recent memory’s most notable liquidations into online-only players.

The bid by Stein Mart Online Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Retail Ecommerce Ventures, is subject to better offers at a planned Nov. 18 bankruptcy court auction. Any new offers must total at least $4.22 million, the minimum qualifying overbid amount.

Hilco Streambank is working with the Stein Mart estate to shed some of its assets. “Stein Mart was a pioneer in bringing the off-price model online and providing the customer multiple options to engage with the brand including: buy online, pick up in store and buy online, ship from store, resulting in year-over-year sales growth in 2019 and 2020,” said Richelle Kalnit, Hilco’s senior vice president, adding that the retailer drove an “average online order value of $80.”

Founded by chairman Tai Lopez and CEO Dr. Alex Mehr, Retail Ecommerce Ventures acquires distressed retail brands including Dressbarn, franklin Mint, Linens ‘n Things, Pier 1 Imports and Modell’s Sporting Goods.

“The combined effects of a challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic have caused significant financial distress on our business,” Hunt Hawkins, Stein Mart chief financial officer and CEO, said at the time.

The 281-unit chain had already let go of most of its employees at company headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla., when it filed, and 8,500 store associates were furloughed after the temporary closure of all non-essential retailers in March. Not all were called back when Stein Mart stores reopened in the summer.