Struggling clothing retailer Esprit Holdings will close all North American stores and possibly all of its North American outlets if a last-second partner does not materialize.
The Hong Kong-listed chain's U.S. and Canadian subsidiaries are in the process of closing and terminating leases, but Esprit has held off on Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, a spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday. The company's European operations, which comprise 79 percent of its revenues, remain strong.
We are continuing our process of closing the stores. It is in line with what we said last September; we have made provisions for the closures, said spokesman Patrick Lau. We are still trying to find an appropriate partner to maintain and reinvigorate the presence of our brand in North America, Lau added. He gave no further comment.
Esprit has struggled to keep its head above water, suffering a 98 percent drop in global earnings last year, a 12-month period in which shares fell 73 percent.
The U.S. and Canada subsidiaries have cost the company $206 million over four years. The company has tried to find a license partner, but with little success, and is mulling a sale of its North American operations, according to Bloomberg.