Bandier Hopes Buyer Will Save it From Bankruptcy

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Women’s activewear company Bandier is selling off its assets in a last-ditch effort to avoid bankruptcy.

The move comes after the brand beloved by celebrities from Gigi and Bella Hadid, to Ashley Graham and Jennifer Aniston has tried to carve out space in the crowded activewear sector. It’s known for its own private-label workout clothes but also sells products from dozens of third parties such as Pangaia and Nike. Last year it expanded into golf apparel before serving up pickleball-appropriate gear this summer through a partnership with Head Sportswear.

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The New York-founded, Eurazeo-backed brand recently retained an expert to sell off its trademarks, copyrights and patents, as well as inventory and accounts receivable, according to an announcement last week. Management consulting and financial advisory services firm Development Specialists, Inc. (DSI) will conduct the auction through an “assignment for the benefit of creditors” (ABC) process. This means profits from the liquidated assets will be distributed to creditors. Up for grabs are Bandier’s internet properties, brand collateral, customer and vendor data, and the right, title and interest in equity in subsidiaries used to operate its business.

Bandier sells leggings, sports bras, outerwear, accessories, and footwear from brands including Hoka, On Running, and New Balance in store and online. In 2021, it started selling its All Access and WSLY private labels on Amazon. The nine-year-old company launched its first brick-and-mortar location in Southampton, N.Y., before expanding its footprint to New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas for a total of five stores plus e-commerce. DSI said buyers would assume the commercial real estate leases for these operations.

DSI wants to quickly sell Bandier’s assets and transfer them to the highest bidder on an “As Is, Where Is” basis, meaning there will be no warranties provided on ownership, title, merchantability, fitness or use, DSI said. Interested parties should submit their bids by 5 p.m. on Dec. 18.

Bandier is selling off its assets and IP, according to a filing last week.
Bandier is selling off its assets and IP.

On Nov. 22, Bandier filed a WARN notice in New York indicating that it had terminated 52 corporate and stores workers, citing “economic” factors. In the filing the company said it expected to rehire employees affected by the “permanent” layoffs under “the new entity, Bandier ABC, LLC,” presumably after the intended sale.

Though Bandier has fallen on hard times, some experts believe the athleisure movement has staying power. Rivals such as Vuori and Alo Yoga seem to be poised for the next level of financial success. The former has seen its valuation pegged at $4 billion and could be looking at a float on the public markets next year. The latter has seemingly amassed an even richer valuation, with numbers in the $10 billion range.

But Matt Powell, former NPD analyst and now head of industry consultancy Spurwink River, says the activewear sector has “really struggled” since the pandemic, when comfy clothes resonated with couch-bound consumers.

Today, only a handful of brands such as Lululemon, he said, stand out in a “soft” industry where “far too many brands” are churning out “inferior products.”

What’s more, Bandier might have shot itself in the foot by investing in brick-and-mortar stores during a “very expensive real estate” market, according to Powell. “Tough to make money in those locations,” he said.