Saks Fifth Avenue owner seeks financing as virus crimps sales -sources

June 10 (Reuters) – Saks Fifth Avenue owner Hudson’s Bay Company is preparing a bond offering to shore up its finances, the latest retailer to do so after the novel coronavirus pandemic forced widespread store closures, according to people familiar with the matter.

Hudson’s Bay is hoping to raise roughly $800 million to $900 million through the bond deal, depending on the appetite from investors, one of the sources said.

It was unclear whether the Canadian department store operator planned to offer investors collateral such as real estate.

The sources requested anonymity because the matter is confidential. A Hudson’s Bay spokeswoman declined to comment.

Hudson’s Bay’s bond offering would come on the heels of other capital raises by peers suffering from the pandemic’s economic fallout. Macy’s Inc said on Monday it had raised $4.5 billion through bonds and a loan backed by its assets, while Nordstrom in April tapped capital markets for $600 million.

Other department-store chains were forced to file for bankruptcy because of the pandemic, including Saks rival Neiman Marcus Group and J.C. Penney Co Inc.

Hudson’s Bay was taken private earlier this year for close to C$2 billion ($1.5 billion) by an investor group led by Chairman Richard Baker. In March, it closed all of its stores due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Hudson’s Bay’s eponymous department stores in Canada have been opening up since early May as virus-linked lockdowns have eased. Roughly half of Saks’s 41 stores across the United States were open on Tuesday, albeit with reduced hours.

The Saks flagship store in Manhattan was boarded up this month in the wake of protests over the treatment of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. (Reporting by Mike Spector and Jessica DiNapoli in New York Additional reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Melissa Fares in New York Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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