May 7, 2020 - Economy & Business

Neiman Marcus files for bankruptcy

Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Neiman Marcus filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Texas on Thursday.

The bottom line: It's this week's second major retail bankruptcy, following J. Crew on Monday.

The big picture: Neiman Marcus has struggled for years under the weight of $4.3 billion in debt stemming from its 2013 takeover by private equity firm Ares Management and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

  • Social distancing restrictions have forced the company to temporarily shutter its 43 Neiman Marcus locations, about two dozen Last Call stores and its two Bergdorf Goodman stores.
  • The group has furloughed most of its roughly 14,000 employees. It's also fallen behind on debt payments, having "skipped millions of dollars in debt payments last week, including one that only gave the company a few days to avoid a default," according to Reuters.

What they're saying: CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck tells the Wall Street Journal that the business was "on track prior to Covid-19," although initial reports of the company prepping a Chapter 11 filing came just a week or so into the pandemic.

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Why it matters: Solving these problems will require deep political, structural and cultural changes, experts and advocates say — but they also point to a handful of specific policy changes that, while not a cure, would make a difference.