Tip Top Tailors operator keeping 140 stores open

TORONTO — The assets of Grafton-Fraser Inc., owner of Tip Top Tailors and other menswear chains, have been bought by U.S.-based GSO Capital Partners in a move to stabilize the Canadian retail business.

As part of the agreement, the new operators of the Toronto-based retailer is keeping 140 stores open across the country, while 12 underperforming locations have been closed, affecting 100 jobs.

The retail brands, which include George Richards, Kingsport and Mr. Big and Tall, will continue operations as normal in the new arrangement.

Details of the purchase were not disclosed, but the new operators of the menswear chains says the debt structure of the company significantly reduced allowing it to focus on key initiatives for growth.

In January, cash-crunched Grafton-Fraser received temporary court protection so it could work to liquidate inventory and sell its assets.

A report filed with Ontario Superior Court said that Grafton-Fraser owed GSO Capital Partners about $39.4 million. It also owed $12.8 million to CIBC, which has a priority claim under an agreement between the two creditors.

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