Moores Clothing for Men files for bankruptcy; Island stores to remain open

Moores Clothing for Men, which has locations in Langford, Nanaimo and Uptown shopping centre in Saanich, is the latest retail chain to file for bankruptcy protection amid the pandemic.

Tailored Brands, which also owns Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank stores, said over the weekend it will continue to operate most stores during restructuring and expected to reduce its funded debt by $630 million.

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COVID-19 restrictions have severely limited weddings and office work since March, hitting the clothing retail and rental sectors particularly hard.

The three Island stores — including Nanaimo’s Brook’s Landing Mall and Westshore Town Centre in Langford — were shut down in March and reopened with reduced staff in late June.

Lawrence Larsen, manager of the Uptown store, said the three Island locations will continue to operate.

At least two stores — both in Surrey — have not reopened.

Larsen said the Uptown location is operating without 40 per cent of its usual staff.

He said sales since reopening have been “consistent, but overall the business is really down” from previous years.

Dinesh Lathi, chief executive of Tailored Brands, said in a statement to clients over the weekend the pandemic has altered the way people live and work.

“It means fewer in-person meetings, wedding celebrations and special events. Simply put, people are staying home more, and our clothes are better suited to being out and about,” Lathi said.

He said the company is “making major shifts” by creating a leaner structure to adapt to the realities of today’s retail environment.

“In July, we announced some store closures. However, we will continue to have stores across Canada operating as usual. Nothing about our decision to seek Chapter 11 protection changes that.”

Meanwhile, Lord & Taylor, the oldest retailer in the U.S., also said it was seeking bankruptcy protection over the weekend, lengthening the list of major retail chains that have faltered during the pandemic.

Household names, many longtime anchors in malls, were already struggling to keep up with consumers moving to online sales.

Lord & Taylor, which began as a Manhattan dry goods store in 1824, was sold to the French rental clothing company Le Tote Inc. last year. Both filed for bankruptcy protection, separately, on Sunday.

Lord & Taylor says it’s looking for a buyer.

Tailored Brands was struggling even before the pandemic lockdowns smothered any demand for suits or ties.

It wasn’t alone.

Last month, Brooks Brothers, the 200-year-old company that dressed nearly every U.S. president, filed for bankruptcy protection. Its rival, Barneys New York, is being dismantled after filing for bankruptcy last year.

Dozens of retailers, big and small, have filed for U.S. Chapter 11 protection this year. The pace through the first half of 2020 far exceeds the number of retail bankruptcies for all of last year. About two dozen U.S.-based chains have sought bankruptcy protection since the pandemic started.

Others include J. Crew, J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, Stage Stores, and Ascena Retail Group, which owns Lane Bryant in addition to Ann Taylor.

— With files from The Associated Press

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