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WSJ Private Equity Pro

Coronavirus Unravels Private-Equity Playbook for Some Retailers

Coronavirus Unravels Private-Equity Playbook for Some Retailers

Many retail chains backed by buyout firms were struggling even before the pandemic forced store closures

  • 10.05.2020
  • min read

WSJ Private Equity Pro

Coronavirus Unravels Private-Equity Playbook for Some Retailers

Private-equity firms bet that their expertise and capital would help these companies grow and navigate the rise of online competition from Amazon.com Inc. and others.

Now these businesses, from pet shops to luxury brands that collectively employ more than 1 million people, are fighting to stay afloat, weakened by coronavirus-driven shutdowns, revenues that were often falling even before the pandemic and high debt levels.

“Some of the companies coming out as in financial distress now were already struggling before Covid-19-sparked closures and the downturn, but this sure accelerated things,” said Aaron Cheris, head of the Americas retail team at consulting firm firm Bain & Company.

WSJ Private Equity Pro