NEW YORK, United States — J. Crew Group Inc. is offering to push out its near-term debt maturities and give lenders compensation in return for dropping pending litigation against the company. The move comes as the retailer reports an 11th consecutive quarterly decline in same-store sales.
The debt-laden retailer started a private offer to exchange its $566.5 million of outstanding 2019 pay-in-kind notes and extend their maturity date to 2021. Bondholders would receive the new notes and equity, and at least 95 percent must accept the proposal for it to proceed.
Separately, J. Crew announced that comparable-store sales in the quarter ending April 29 fell by 9 percent. Total revenue dropped 6 percent to $532 million.
The retailer is struggling to adjust as shoppers flock to online commerce amid changing tastes. It announced last week that long-time chief executive officer Mickey Drexler is leaving his post and James Brett, the 48-year-old president of Williams-Sonoma Inc.’s home furnishings chain West Elm is taking the helm in an effort to contain the damage.
In addition to the debt tender, a second offer will be made to J. Crew’s term-loan lenders asking them to dismiss the pending litigation against the company in exchange for meaningful compensation. The New York-based retailer is facing a battle with those lenders, who have accused it of unfairly moving its valuable brand name out of reach when it put its intellectual property assets in an unrestricted subsidiary last year. The new bonds will be issued from that subsidiary and use the IP assets as collateral.
The company’s cash grew to $104.6 million at the end of the quarter from $54.7 million a year earlier, while total debt narrowed less than 1 percent to $1.5 billion.
“While we are disappointed with our first-quarter earnings, we are optimistic regarding the work we have underway to improve the business,” Drexler said in the statement. He cited J. Crew’s “clear vision” and said Brett will position the retailer for “long-term success.”
Drexler is staying on as J. Crew’s chairman.
By Lindsey Rupp and Emma Orr; editors: Nick Turner, Nikolaj Gammeltoft and Jonathan Roeder.