May 15, 2018
Newton, MA-based The Rockport Group, LLC stepped into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday and may close stores. The comfort shoe maker cited challenges from an evolving retail landscape and a costly separation from former owner Adidas AG as the reasons for the filing, which included a plan to cede ownership to private-equity firm CB Marathon Opco, LLC, an affiliate of Charlesbank Equity Fund IX, Limited Partnership.
An attempt to avoid the situation included spinning off from German parent Addidas in 2015 into a New Balance affiliate, and relocating away from Reebok’s old Canton campus into a new facility in Newton in 2016. That separation ultimately proved complicated and more expensive than expected. Additionally, its supply chain was disrupted when three factories operated by foreign vendors closed in 2016.
The company’s shoe brands include Rockport, Aravon and Dunham, which it aims to continue making. Rockport, which was founded in 1971, warned it may be forced to close all of its stand-alone retail stores, including 27 in the U.S., though intends to continue its global wholesale, independent and e-commerce operations.
Roughly 57% of Rockport’s sales are derived from its wholesale business, which includes products distributed to department stores, specialty retailers, independent stores and online sellers. The company also has 33 stores in Canada, sells products online and maintains relationships with 22 global distributors that sell its products in 35 countries.
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