The parent company of 28-year-old catalog retailer Chadwick’s of Boston involuntarily filed for bankruptcy in June, leaving the fate of Chadwick’s and sister apparel brands Casual Living and metrostyle in jeopardy.
Women’s Apparel Group, which operates as Boston Apparel Group, was forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy by several creditors seeking an estimated $52.8 million. Three creditors — NL Ventures VII United, La Vita Inc., and Your Label Inc. — are looking for $52.4 million, $15,686, and $360,863, respectively.
Boston Apparel, which specializes in selling value-priced apparel and accessories, is owned by private equity firm Monomoy Capital Partners. Monomoy formed the company when it purchased the missy division of Redcats USA in 2008.
Since then, Boston Apparel has exited its Closeout Catalog Outlet operations (which offered Chadwick’s and metrostyle merchandise at deeper discounts), shuttered its West Bridgewater warehouse, and laid off hundreds of employees at its headquarters and warehouse locations. Boston Apparel points to the economic downturn and subsequent stalled sales for its significant financial woes.
While it looks like Boston Apparel’s business is unfolding in liquidation, the company had made a last ditch effort to widen its customer base and seek strategic alternatives. Looking to expand Boston Apparel’s products portfolio and create a more diverse customer base, Monomoy in 2010 purchased clothing retailer Casual Living, which boasts direct-mail catalogs and a website. The deal, which represented Boston Apparel’s first add-on acquisition, was aimed at attracting women between the ages of 45 and 60 — a growing demographic — to supplement its existing target audience of women in the 25-55 age range. As recently as early 2011 Boston Apparel also enlisted the help of Fianco Securities to search for additional funding or a buyer.
I’m hoping when the dust settles that Beantown gets to keep its namesake Chadwick’s.