Boutique women’s apparel brand Francesca’s Holdings Corp. (FRAN) shares plummeted in the after-hour trading as it reportedly filed for bankruptcy after the covid-19 outbreak has depleted the company’s already floundering profits.
The Houston-based company reportedly filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware late Thursday with plans to sell the business.
One of TerraMar Capital’s affiliates has agreed to become the stalking-horse bidder in a court-supervised auction. The retailer said Tiger Finance LLC, Francesca’s existing lender, has committed $25 million in bankruptcy financing.
“Using this process, Francesca’s will be able to address its lease obligations and find a new investor that can take Francesca’s forward,” said Andrew Clarke, CEO.
The chain is reportedly studying potential bidders and is targeting the completion of a sale by Jan. 20.
As a destination for ever-changing fashion, Francesca’s replenishes its merchandise daily, with a capacity to ship more than 100,000 pieces each day. Half of the company’s 1,500-square-foot boutiques are in malls. Several dozen clothing retailers are reorganizing amid the pandemic, including the chain.
Francesca’s closed for four weeks in the spring and reopened in early April, leading to a 50% decline in first-quarter revenues and raising questions about its viability.
Francesca’s was already struggling before the outbreak hit. In the previous two years, the management reported losses and was scrapping a strategic review last year upon the top executives’ departure.
As Clarke pointed out, the pandemic’s impact was too great to avoid Chapter 11, even though online sales increased. Over the previous year, Francesca’s Holdings Corp. (FRAN) had deferred about 36.2 million in rent while foot traffic fell by 47%.