BCBG Max Azria, the women’s upscale fashion retail chain, is closing all its standalone stores in Canada and seeking protection from creditors in North America. Fifty one stores in Canada will be liquidated and closed, however court filings say the company may keep its kiosks inside department stores, such as Hudson’s Bay, which are for the most part profitable.
Founded in 1989, BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP is the lifetime vision of Founder, Designer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Max Azria. After years of success designing women’s wear in Paris and Los Angeles, Azria decided to pursue his dream of launching a design house that spoke to the modern woman, and BCBGMAXAZRIA was born. The chain has grown to over 550 stores worldwide.
The brand, a longtime favourite of red-carpet celebrities, has suffered in the retail slump. Kate Winslet, Victoria Beckham and Alicia Keys have worn its fashions, which include cocktail dresses and handbags. Despite US$615 million in sales in its most recently completed fiscal year, the chain is the latest unable to pay its debts. Court documents suggest the company has assets of up to $500 million and debts of up to $1 billion.
“Unfortunately, like many other apparel and retail companies, BCBG has fallen victim in recent years to adverse macro-trends, including a general shift away from brick-and-mortar to online retail channels, a shift in consumer demographics,” the company said in a court filing. As such, BCBG Max Azria is seeking protection under Canada’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.