Women’s apparel retailer Christopher & Banks has generated interest in its ecommerce business, even as it continues to wind down its brick-and-mortar operations and shutters its Plymouth, Minn. headquarters. The retailer currently operates 450 stores in 44 states.
After filing for bankruptcy earlier in January 2021, Christopher & Banks has entered into a letter of intent with ALCC to serve as the stalking horse bidder for its ecommerce business. ALCC is an affiliate of Hilco Merchant Resources, which is leading the retailer’s closing sales.
The initial bid price is set for $8.1 million, equal to the value of the term loan and subject to court approval. Any additional bids must top this by at least $650,000 to be considered. The proposed bid deadline is Feb. 17, followed by a Feb. 19 auction if required and a target closing date of Feb. 26.
According to court documents, Christopher & Banks and its advisors B. Riley reached out to 200 potential buyers, three of which indicated an interest in the company’s ecommerce operations.
The retailer was hit hard by COVID-19, with net sales down 22.6% in Q3 2020 alone. However, that loss was offset by a 32.4% increase in the company’s ecommerce business, leading the company to decide that while “a sale of any traditional brick-and-mortar business is not viable or achievable under the current circumstances,” the company’s ecommerce operations might “represent an attractive asset for buyers.”
“We believe that COVID has had an outsized impact on our customer demographic as her shopping behavior is more pragmatic with limited demand for new outfits in the absence of social engagements,” said Keri Jones, President and CEO of Christopher & Banks in a statement. “In addition, based on our own retail traffic trends, we believe she remains hesitant to shop in stores.”