Brooks Brothers Files for Bankruptcy After 200 Years in Business

The American brand is closing stores and factories, but it’s not down-and-out yet

Brooks Brothers logo over a store in San Francisco, California
Brooks Brothers is closing 51 stores and three factories, but bankruptcy isn't the end.
Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
By Alex Lauer / July 8, 2020 12:22 pm

Brooks Brothers is not the first — J.Crew took that spot — and it will certainly not be the last, but the historic, 200-year-old American clothing brand has filed for bankruptcy.

On Wednesday, Brooks Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections, according to CNBC, which was speculated because the company was already searching for a buyer before the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the retail industry, especially in the office-wear sector inhabited by Brooks.

The bankruptcy filing follows reports of the closing of the brand’s U.S. factories as well as 51 North American stores, but the company is planning to reopen the majority of its stores closed during the coronavirus fallout and has plans to come out on the other side of this very much alive.

“We are in the process of identifying the right owner, or owners, to lead our iconic Brooks Brothers brand into the future,” a spokesperson for the outfitter told CNBC.

What does that mean for you, the person who has relied on Brooks for Oxfords and polos in a pinch? Right now, not much. They’re still open for business online and need to stay open to facilitate a potential sale, but their hopes could be dashed depending on how COVID-19 progresses.

“To support its operations in bankruptcy, Brooks Brothers has secured $75 million in debtor-in-possession financing from brand management firm WHP Global, which is backed by Oaktree Capital and BlackRock,” CNBC reported. “That comes on top of a $20 million loan it secured from Gordon Brothers in May.”

For the moment, they’ve got enough cash to stay in business. For the moment.

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