Like many retailers across Canada, Calgary-based Swimco, a national swimwear company, has seen a big negative impact on its business due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The company, which has its roots as a home-based, mail-order business, recently filed a Notice of Intention, under creditor’s protection, in order to restructure. That will mean about five stores will close operation leaving it with 20 as it moves forward.
“We’re hopeful that by the end of September that we are through this process and have launched our Swimco version 2.0,” said Lori Bacon, owner and CEO of the company.
“We’re looking to be a smaller company. We’re at 20 (stores) and we envision staying there.”
The company has about $6.5 million in unsecured claims and that includes about $1.6 million in landlord rent.
Swimco has reduced its head office staff by about half as it recently let go about 20 people and in the retail side staff has reduced by about 80 people.
“Integral to this plan is renegotiations with landlords and getting our rent expenses in line with where we see sales will be for the next few years because they are going to be dramatically different,” said Bacon.
“(The Notice of Intention) just allows us to stop for a moment, put something in front of our creditors and we’ve had such positive support from both our bank and our vendors. They want this to work and I’ve become convinced that we do have a way forward and that our relative small size gives us a lot of nimbleness in terms of product offering and how we operate. We’ve done this throughout our 45 years but this time it’s much faster. The required moving into another lane. The adjusting. The evolving. It’s just got to happen fast. That’s what we’re prepared to do and that’s what we’re working on. We’re fighting for it and holding hands with our vendors and our landlords and think we can get there and be profitable next year and then ahead where we really see things opening up which is in 2022.”