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Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers store closings planned: Retailer files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection – USA TODAY

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Published 8:58 a.m. ET July 8, 2020

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As retailers and others try to stay viable during the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re hoping steps like cleaning during store hours, offering hand sanitizer and other safety measures will bring back customers to what has become shopping’s new normal. (July 6)

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Luxury apparel retailer Brooks Brothers – which survived the Civil War, the Great Depression, World War II and the Great Recession – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday as it tries to survive the retail industry’s turmoil amid digital transformation and the coronavirus pandemic.

Founded by Henry Sands Brooks in 1818, Brooks Brothers requested protection from its creditors with a bankruptcy filing in Delaware.

The company joins a rapidly growing list of retailers that have stumbled into bankruptcy in the midst of the wreckage of COVID-19, which temporarily shuttered stores due to health concerns. Others recently filing for bankruptcy have included J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, J. Crew and Chuck E. Cheese.

Brooks Brothers representatives did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment Wednesday.

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The company is already closing about 51 of its 250 North American stores, according to CNBC. It has about 500 worldwide and about 4,000 employees.

Brooks Brothers introduced the button-down polo shirt in 1896 and later became known for its high-end men’s clothing, including suits and ties.

The company, which made uniforms for the U.S. military during the Civil War, pivoted in recent months to make masks for the coronavirus pandemic.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

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Brooks Rayshard

Who is Rayshard Brooks? Father of 4 celebrated daughter’s birthday hours before police shot him in Atlanta – USA TODAY

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Atlanta resident Rayshard Brooks was shot by an officer during a struggle and died after surgery, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

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ATLANTA – Hours before police shot him outside a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant in Atlanta on Friday, Rayshard Brooks had done what dads do: enjoyed a father-daughter day in honor of his little girl’s eighth birthday.     

The party was supposed to roll into the next day with a skating celebration. But Brooks, 27, would not be there.

The father of four was shot by an Atlanta police officer while fleeing during a struggle at a Wendy’s drive-thru late Friday night and died at a local hospital, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Brooks had been asleep in his car at the drive-thru, causing other customers to drive around the vehicle, GBI said.

Police were dispatched to the Wendy’s around 10:30 p.m. and conducted a sobriety exam on Brooks, who failed the test and then resisted officers’ attempts to arrest him, according to investigators.

GBI Director Vic Reynolds said Brooks had grabbed a Taser from one officer and appeared to point it at the officer as he fled. The officer fired an estimated three shots.

Latest news: Atlanta officer fired, video released in shooting of Rayshard Brooks: ‘It’s got to be the culture’

Family attorney Justin Miller said Brooks took his daughter to get her nails done and something to eat on Friday. On Saturday she put on a special dress for the second round of the big occasion, awaiting her dad.

“She had her birthday dress on because she was waiting for her dad to come pick her up to take her to go skating,” Brooks said at a Saturday news conference. “While we were over there they had a birthday party for her eighth birthday today with cupcakes … while we were sitting there talking with her mom about why her dad’s not coming home.”

Another family attorney,  L. Chris Stewart, said Brooks worked at a “tortilla place.” He said the officer who shot Brooks should be charged for “an unjustified use of deadly force, which equals murder.”

Stewart said attorneys were with the family on Saturday and watched the children “play and laugh and be oblivious to the facts that their dad was murdered.”

“You can’t have it both ways in law enforcement,” Stewart said. “You can’t say a Taser is a nonlethal weapon … but when an African American grabs it and runs with it, now it’s some kind of deadly, lethal weapon that calls for you to unload on somebody.”

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The shooting comes as the nation grapples with issues of race and police brutality after the May 25 death of George Floyd who was pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck for almost 9 minutes. Floyd’s death sparked three weeks of protests in cities large and small across the U.S. 

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The officer involved in the Brooks shooting was fired and another was placed on administrative duty, the police department announced Sunday. The police department released body camera and dash camera footage from both officers. Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields also stepped down.

Crystal Brooks, who said she is Rayshard Brooks’ sister-in-law, joined protesters outside the Atlanta Wendy’s on Saturday night. 

“He wasn’t causing anyone any harm,” she said. “The police went up to the car and even though the car was parked they pulled him out of the car and started tussling with him. He did grab the Taser, but he just grabbed the Taser and ran.”

Ellis reported from Atlanta; Miller from Arlington, Va. Contributing: The Associated Press

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Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers seeks financing for potential bankruptcy, as it continues sale process – CNBC

A pedestrian wearing a mask walks past a Brooks Brothers storefront closed during the COVID-19 crisis on May 06, 2020 in Vancouver, Canada.

Andrew Chin | Getty Images

Brooks Brothers is talking to banks about raising financing for a potential bankruptcy that could come as soon as July, as the coronavirus pandemic squeezes the sales of the two-century-old retailer, people familiar with the matter tell CNBC.

Brooks Brothers is continuing a sale process it launched earlier this year to heavy interest, and could still conduct a sale without filing for bankruptcy, these people say.

However, its talks about so-called debtor-in-possession financing, which would support its operations in bankruptcy, show that one option it is preparing for is filing for court protection. The retailer has not finalized how large of a DIP loan it might need, as that would depend on how many stores it closes in any potential bankruptcy proceeding, the people said.

Brooks Brothers Chief Executive Claudio Del Vecchio, told The New York Times this week that while he was not “eager” to consider a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, he would not rule it out

Brooks Brothers, known for its upscale preppy attire, calls itself the country’s oldest clothing retailer. It, like other retailers, has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic, which has already drove J. Crew, Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney into bankruptcy.

Many of these retailers were forced to close stores as states issued stay-at-home orders to contain the spread of Covid-19, which has sickened about 1.9 million people in the U.S. and killed at least 108,211. With many workers conducting business from their homes over the last few months, or sidelined by high unemployment, demand for business attire has fallen sharply. 

Brooks Brothers earlier hired an investment bank, P.J. Solomon, to explore a sale or bankruptcy. And while it has had significant interest from potential buyers — drawn in by its strong brand —  many of them would prefer to buy the retailer out of bankruptcy, so they can purchase a smaller chunk of its store footprint, the people said. 

Brooks Brothers has more than 250 stores in North America and 500 worldwide. 

If it files for bankruptcy, it is possible it would do so with a “stalking horse” bidder in hand, providing the floor for further bids, the people said.  

The people requested anonymity because the information is confidential. A spokesperson for Brooks Brothers said that “in the ordinary course of business, Brooks Brothers consistently explores various strategic options to position the company for growth and success.”

She added the retailer has “nothing to announce at this time.”

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