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Men's Wearhouse parent gets surprise upgrade

A pedestrian walks in front of a Men's Wearhouse store facade, with the signage spelled out in gold lettering, located on an urban city street.

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Tailored Brands, the struggling parent of Men's Wearhouse, got a surprise upgrade by S&P Global Ratings from CCC+ to B-, after its operating performance exceeded the rating agency's expectations.

Why it matters: Discretionary spending, particularly on apparel goods, is expected to take a hit, with a number of retailers lowering their forecasts for the remainder of the year.

  • But S&P said the Tailored Brands' gains could continue, as it projects sales of more than $2.6 billion and adjusted EBITDA of about $500 million over the next 12 months.

Details: Sales for the trailing 12 months through July increased 65% and adjusted EBITDA improved to $578 million, compared to being in the red by $22 million last year, according to S&P's calculations.

  • The company reported free operating cash flow of $250 million over that same 12-month period.
  • "Moreover, profitability improved significantly as gross margins increased about 25 percentage points to about 48% compared with 23% in the same period in 2021," it said.
  • Tailored Brands also paid off a $103 million priority term loan and a portion of a take-back term loan, it said.

Yes, and: S&P cited pent-up demand, with a return to the office and an increase in weddings in the last year partly contributing to improved performance.

  • Operationally, the retailer pivoted to higher full-price selling, versus promotions, along with cost reductions implemented during bankruptcy to improve margins.

Catch up fast: Tailored Brands has been on watch for potential default since it emerged from bankruptcy in December 2020, after filing for Chapter 11 in August of that same year.

  • And it remains on the Fitch Ratings Top Market Concern Loans list, which cites issuers most at risk.
  • Even before the pandemic the retailer was in need of a makeover, and unveiled a new concept store in early 2021 as part of its turnaround — but that, of course, requires cash.

The bottom line: S&P believes Tailored Brands will continue to perform well — even amid inflation, an economic slowdown, and increased popularity of men's casual wear.

  • S&P's "positive outlook" for the business "reflects the potential for an upgrade over the next 12 months."
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