- Women's apparel seller Coldwater Creek's assets have sold to Hong Kong sourcing firm Newtimes Group for $12.2 million, according to reports in Sourcing Journal and Chainstore Age.
- Newtimes emerged as a stalking horse bidder for the assets in August with an original price set at $8 million, according to a press release at the time. Assets in the sale include intellectual property, inventory, fitting forms and pattern, and libraries for the banner's catalog, fabric, patterns and best sellers, among other assets.
- Coldwater Creek, previously owned by private equity firm Sycamore Partners, quietly shut down in July. The company's e-commerce site says it is still closed for business.
Coldwater Creek has gone through several rounds of expansion and contraction, and liquidation and rebirth, over the years.
The banner, founded in the 1980s in Sandpoint, Idaho, ran stores, a catalog, an online business and even spas, all aimed at women between 35 and 50. In 2014, debt and a poor holiday period caught up with it, sending it into bankruptcy. Sycamore Partners picked up Coldwater Creek's intellectual property after the retailer went bankrupt and liquidated its physical footprint.
In recent years, Coldwater Creek struggled to win younger fans. Racked reported in 2017 that the retailer ranked as one of the lowest brands with millennials, with just 3% of its web sales coming from that age cohort.
The company worked through last year to boost its profitability and cash flows. By early 2020, its sales were on an upward trajectory. But the COVID-19 pandemic and closure of its stores proved too steep a challenge to overcome. The company posted a loss of $8.6 million on revenue of $36.4 million in the first quarter and a loss of $5.6 million on revenue of $35.4 million in the second quarter.
With the sale to Newtimes, Coldwater could yet have another life. It would join a cohort of retail brands being sold in bankruptcy and out-of-court liquidations to other stakeholders in the retail ecosystem. In 2020 alone, retail brands have been acquired by real estate players (Brooks Brothers, Lucky Brands, The Paper Store), e-commerce specialists (Modell's Sporting Goods) and brand aggregators (Sur La Table).
Hong Kong-based Newtimes specializes in fabric, design, production, quality and logistics, and says it works with 600 vendors and has locations in 40 countries around the world.