People aren't wearing suits anymore, and it's sending companies like Brooks Brothers and Men's Wearhouse's parent to the brink

People aren't wearing suits anymore, and it's sending companies like Brooks Brothers and Men's Wearhouse's parent to the brink
Men's Wearhouse's parent company could file for bankruptcy.Getty/ Andrew Burton
  • Tailored Brands, parent company of Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank, is reportedly considering filing for bankruptcy.
  • It's not the only brand specializing in workwear and special events to struggle amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Brooks Brothers is considering closing three factories in July, and Banana Republic was a low point of Gap Inc.'s earnings report last week.

Tailored Brands, the parent company of Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank, is considering filing for bankruptcy protection, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

A bankruptcy filing would allow the company to continue operating while closing some underperforming locations. Tailored Brands, like other retailers deemed "nonessential" during coronavirus-related shutdowns, was forced to temporarily close its stores in March. "As a matter of company policy, we don't comment on market rumors or speculation," a representative for Tailored Brands told Business Insider.
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Tailored Brands was facing sales challenges even before the pandemic hit. It has about $1 billion in debt.

But the pandemic has certainly exacerbated its problems, as office workers who wear suits started working from home and events like weddings were postponed.

The new work-from-home dynamic has hurt Tailored Brands' competitors as well.
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In its June 4 quarterly earnings call, Gap Inc. similarly addressed the struggles of Banana Republic, which typically caters to working professionals. Gap Inc. CEO Sonia Syngal said the leadership team would be taking "aggressive actions to adjust its product."

"In this crisis, with the unforeseen shift to consumers working from home, Banana Republic was disadvantaged in its product mix as customers opted for casual style," Syngal said. "Banana Republic's workwear categories such as suiting and dresses underperformed, which coincided with less available inventory of casual categories like knits and shorts. This affected online demand resulting in less benefits than our other brands." Banana Republic's net sales were down 47% in the most recent quarter, compared to a 43% decline in net sales for Gap Inc.'s entire portfolio.
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Brooks Brothers, which also struggled before the pandemic, could close three factories over the summer, potentially eliminating as many as 700 jobs. It is also permanently closing at least eight stores after shuttering in response to the pandemic. A bankruptcy filing is reportedly being considered.

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