Ascena Retail Group, Inc. and certain of its subsidiaries announced that, on 23rd July, 2020, it has filed voluntary Chapter 11 petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
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Among other approvals, the court granted Ascena approval for the company to access and use its more than $430 million in cash collateral. In addition, the court has authorized the company to meet necessary obligations and fulfill its duties during the restructuring process, including authority to continue payment of employee wages and benefits, honor certain customer and vendor commitments and otherwise manage its day-to-day operations as usual.
The court also approved procedures for store closing sales, including all Catherines stores, a significant number of Justice stores and a select number of Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant and Lou & Grey stores. The Company will continue to operate its Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant, Justice and Lou & Grey brands through a reduced number of retail stores and online.
Gary Muto, Chief Executive Officer of Ascena stated, “We are pleased to have received prompt approval of these First Day motions, which will enable us to continue providing our associates with wages and benefits, maintain our outstanding relationship with our vendor community and serve our customers across our brand portfolio with fashion, inspiration and meaningful experiences every day. We are appreciative of the strong support from our lenders to help mark a new start for our company. By entering into a comprehensive plan to deleverage our balance sheet, right-size our operations and inject new capital into the business, we will be better positioned to deliver profitable growth of our iconic brands and drive value for all of our stakeholders.”
As previously announced, Ascena entered into a restructuring support agreement (“RSA”) with over 68% of its secured term lenders. The RSA contemplates agreed-upon terms for a pre-arranged financial restructuring plan that is expected to significantly reduce Ascena’s debt by approximately $1 billion.
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The company will seek authorization at its second day hearing to access the $150 million in a new money term loan from the company’s existing lenders. This financing, combined with cash on hand and cash flow generated by the company’s ongoing operations, is expected to be sufficient to meet Ascena’s operational and restructuring needs.