One of Canada’s oldest camera retailers says it doesn’t have enough money to pay all its creditors, and blames the COVID-19 pandemic for a “dramatic” decline in business.
Henry’s, founded in Toronto in 1909, has issued a “Notice of Intent” to issue a proposal to creditors, saying that temporarily closing its retail stores because of COVID-19 hurt its business.
According to a full list of creditors on the website of insolvency trustee Grant Thornton, Henry’s owes more than $ 24 million to a wide variety of creditors ranging from camera and tech companies, to the Canada Revenue Agency. The company also owes the Toronto Star $ 22,447.51.
In a news release, Henry’s CEO Gillian Stein squarely blamed COVID-19.
“The effect of COVID-19 on the economy is unprecedented. The Canadian retail industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors and Henry’s has felt a dramatic impact. We closed our brick-and-mortar locations to keep our customers and employees safe due to the pandemic, which resulted in a significant impact to sales while still bearing the ongoing operating costs,” said Stein.
Henry’s intends to reopen 22 stores when non-essential businesses are allowed to open again. Seven other stores, (Brampton, Markham, Nepean and Sudbury in Ontario, and Coquitlam, Langley and Victoria in B.C.) won’t be reopened, Stein said. Henry’s website continues to operate, she added.
“Given the current reality, we wanted to act swiftly and decisively to improve efficiencies across our business and ensure we hit the ground running when life in Canada returns to normal. By restructuring our company and making these key changes, we’re confident that Henry’s will emerge from this crisis a stronger, well-positioned business, and able to save Canadian jobs and support Canada’s creative community.”
If creditors don’t agree to the proposed restructuring and a court doesn’t approve it, Henry’s can file for bankruptcy. The company has 30 days to release full details of its proposal to creditors, although the deadline can be extended with court approval.