J. Jill store | Source: Shutterstock
QUINCY, United States — J. Jill Inc. has just 10 days to get permission from the vast majority of its lenders for a deal that would extend the struggling retailer’s debt maturities, excuse it from financial covenants and give it fresh cash.
The company said in a statement Tuesday that it plans to file for bankruptcy if it fails to get lenders holding 95 percent of its term loans on board with the plan by September 11. It’s struck a deal with lenders holding 70 percent of the debt to extend certain debt maturities to 2024, grant a financial covenant holiday and provide for at least $15 million of new cash in the form of a junior term loan.
If the Quincy, Massachusetts-based company files for bankruptcy, the company has an accord with lenders to get at least $75 million of debtor-in-possession financing that will convert to a term loan.
The pandemic forced the women’s clothing retailer to temporarily close its more than 280 US stores in March. Lenders agreed to hold off on taking immediate action against the company after it violated terms of its loans, J. Jill said in a June news release.
The company warned in June that the challenges related to Covid-19 had raised “substantial doubt” about its ability to survive. But like many struggling retailers, its problems predated the virus. J. Jill has struggled to find the right fashion to appeal to its customers, who were shifting spending to new online merchants and other categories. Shares of the company have lost more than 97 percent of their value since the firm went public in 2017.
Kirkland & Ellis is legal counsel to the company. Centerview Partners is J. Jill’s financial adviser and investment banker. AlixPartners is its restructuring adviser.
By Jeremy Hill