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In Regard to Retail

Pressures Continue to Grow in the Ag, Logistics Industries

The issue of the Journal of Corporate Renewal that focuses on retail insolvencies is typically an easy assignment for a guest editor. Many professionals have touched a retail insolvency at some point in their careers and have views on the unique issues presented. This year, however, was different. Not only were many insolvency professionals busier than they had been in years, but they were also challenged to find something new to say on this topic.

Challenges notwithstanding, our authors have delivered fresh ideas on retail insolvencies by focusing on discrete issues that appear in retail insolvencies and ways that retail impacts our practice even when the matter is not a “retail” insolvency.

First, Lindsay Pellet of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Stephanie Fernandes of Cassels provide an update on retail insolvencies in the home furniture and furnishing industry, with an emphasis on Canadian proceedings. U.S. retailers entering this market have historically faced challenges adapting to Canadian retail consumers and understanding the unique Canadian marketplace. Both Target and Nordstrom entered and exited Canada within a relatively short time frame, showing that what works in the U.S. does not always translate north of the border. Including the changing consumer preferences in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian home furnishing industry’s challenges will require new, creative solutions and diversification as noted in the article.

Next up, Curtis Miller, Matthew Talmo, and Erin Williamson of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP address the ways in which a bankrupt retailer can navigate security interests on goods purchased by customers, ensuring that customers receive their goods and remain willing to do business with the reorganized company. The authors highlight some important exceptions in the Uniform Commercial Code and in the law governing warehouse liens that may allow a retailer to get products to its customers notwithstanding the security interests of other parties.

Third, Jim Krueger along with Max St.Aubin, both with Accordion Financial, investigate the wine industry, which is entering an interesting phase addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. They highlight the challenges and opportunities faced by both direct-to-consumer retailers and wholesale producers. A niche market, wine requires specialized knowledge and experience, but it also offers potential to the savvy investor.

Looking at the turnaround and restructuring industry as a whole, the April issue of the JCR also includes features that focus on issues facing many of us. Jon F. Weber and Alvaro J. Aguirre investigate the common pitfalls that can spell doom for boards of directors after a business is restructured. By identifying common issues that diminish returns for these businesses, the authors offer insight into optimizing performance after reorganization.

Next, Sandor Jacobson, CPA, with Plante Moran, offers some tips on what clients need to know about working with non-traditional lenders. He outlines strategies for securing financing from non-bank entities and identifies the challenges that borrowers face.

Finally, William Snyder, CTP, Jerry Cooper, and Alex Pettee with CR3 Partners explore the importance of credibility in the relationship between businesses and lenders. They note that credibility is crucial to a successful restructuring and discuss the importance of effective and timely communication between the parties.

All of us in this industry, in retail and other sectors, are facing increased demands on our time. I hope this issue of the JCR will act as a resource to help you in what promises to be a 2024 that will be far from dull.

Natalie Levine

Natalie E. Levine


Natalie Levine is a partner in the Restructuring & Insolvency Group at Cassels. Her strength is in working with U.S.-based clients to help them understand the challenges of the Canadian insolvency landscape and developing solutions in complex proceedings. Her practice focuses on corporate restructurings, with an emphasis on debtors, DIP lenders, and committees in cross-border proceedings. Levine’s restructuring matters encompass a variety of industries, including oil and gas, retail, manufacturing, transportation, and entertainment.

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