Bikini Village, Quebec-based company, files for bankruptcy

Swimwear retailer Bikini Village, based in Ste-Julie, Que., has filed for bankruptcy protection, following on the heels of the closure of other Quebec-based retailers such as Jacob, Mexx Canada and Parasuco.

Company employs about 400 people and is headquartered on Montreal's South Shore

Bikini Village, based on Montreal's South Shore, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. (Les Promenades Gatineau)

Quebec-based swimwear retailer Groupe Bikini Village Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday in order to gain time to find a partner or buyer after posting a series of million-dollar quarterly losses.

The company said it needs cash in order to help it reach profitability after announcing it is seeking creditor protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

Jocelyn Dumas, chairman of the board for Bikini Village, said Tuesday in a telephone interview his company needs "an injection of capital."

"Everything will be considered," he said. "(The capital) could come from an investment, a strategic partner or outright sale of the company."

Dumas said a firm such as Bikini Village "has less chances of returning quickly to profitability on its own."

The bathing suit retailer based just south of Montreal is $6 million in debt and posted a net loss of $6.4 million for fiscal 2014, compared with a $1.1-million loss the previous year.

While Dumas wouldn't give details about his firm's restructuring strategy, he said "everything is on the table," including closing some of the company's 52 stores in Eastern Canada.

Bikini Village says it will continue to operate its stores "in the ordinary course of business" and has not confirmed any job cuts.

The firm employs 400 people.

The company's restructuring will be led by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has between 30 days and six months to come up with a plan for the firm to repay its creditors.

The retail industry is hurting with several well-known companies closing or filing for bankruptcy protection.

Parasuco Retail Inc. filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, joining a list of retailers that are closing up shop in Canada, including Target Corp., Sony Corp., Mexx Canada, Smart Set and Boutique Jacob.

Dumas says Bikini Village is better-placed compared to other struggling retailers because the company specializes in a niche product and is well-known among consumers.

"We can't say that those other brands were specialists in an area," he said. "We specialize in swimwear and have the big names and other smaller private brands. Our brand is recognized everywhere."


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