Offbeat Rockport shoe company files for bankruptcy

21:55  14 may  2018
21:55  14 may  2018 Source:

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Rockport Shoe Company .

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Rockport Group became the latest shoe company to trip on retail's rocky terrain Monday as it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The company, whose shoe brands include Rockport, Aravon and Dunham, follows Payless ShoeSource and Nine West into bankruptcy court as shoe sellers grapple with declining traffic to physical stores.

Rockport is aiming to keep its shoemaking business alive in a sale to a private equity firm. But the company warned that it may be forced to close all of its standalone retail stores, including 27 in the U.S.

Rockport partially blamed a turbulent separation from its previous owner, Adidas unit Reebok, which sold Rockport in 2015 to an entity created by shoe company New Balance and Berkshire Partners.

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Separating from Adidas turned out to be "more complex," "meaningfully longer" and "significantly more expensive than planned," interim Chief Financial Officer Paul Kosturos said in a court filing.

The New Balance-Berkshire entity offloaded its stake in the business to Rockport creditors in late 2017, at which point the company began considering a sale of its assets, according to the court filing.

Rockport also said it faced disruptions in its global supply chain, contract disputes, underwhelming sales and intense competition, including online threats.

Founded in 1971, West Newton, Mass.-based Rockport is hoping to stay in business with a deal to sell its assets to private equity firm Charlesbank.

Rockport gets about 57% of its sales from its wholesale business, which distributes products to department stores, specialty retailers, independent stores and online sellers, according to court records.

The company also has 33 stores in Canada, sells products online and maintains relationships with 22 global distributors that sell its products in 35 countries.

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