By Ross Marowits, THE CANADIAN PRESS
The company behind Ricki’s, Bootlegger and Cleo plans to close stores and cut jobs as part of a restructuring after obtaining court protection from creditors Thursday.
Ontario-based Comark Inc., which was granted creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, didn’t specify how many locations would be closed, but said all three banners would be affected.
It has more than 300 stores under the three divisions.
President and CEO Gerry Bachynski said Comark has the support of its lenders and shareholders.
“Together, we are firmly committed to emerging from creditor protection financially stronger, more competitive and well-positioned for the future,” he stated in a news release.
Comark said its senior and division managers will be responsible for day-to-day operations during the restructuring.
The company said it will continue to update stock with the latest brands and honour its reward programs, gift cards and exchanges.
Comark has about 400 employees at its headquarters and Cleo office in Mississauga, Ont., Bootlegger regional office in Richmond, B.C., Ricki’s office in Winnipeg and a distribution centre in Laval, Que.
The number of employees at the stores wasn’t immediately available.
Established in 1976, the company faces many of the same challenges that has battered Canada’s retail sector.
Marketing expert Brynn Winegard of Winegard & Co. says more small- to medium-sized Canadian retailers will close over the coming months as the economy weakens and consumer confidence takes a hit.
“Unless the oil prices and spending power increase soon we’re headed to an economic downturn and so it doesn’t mean good things for retail because that’s where everyone gets hit first,” she said.
Lingerie and swimwear retailer Boutique La Vie en Rose signed a deal this week to buy Bikini Village and keep most of the insolvent chain’s stores open. But other retailers haven’t been as lucky. Mexx, Boutique Jacob, Target, Smart Set and Parasuco are in the process of closing stores.
© 2015 The Canadian Press