November 15, 2017 / 8:30 PM / a month ago

Avenue's Lasry discloses stake in Neiman Marcus debt

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Marc Lasry, the billionaire co-founder of Avenue Capital Group, said on Wednesday that the firm has invested in some of the approximately $4.8 billion in debt of loss-making luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus Group LTD LLC.

Speaking at the Reuters Global Investment 2018 Outlook Summit, Lasry said there have been some winners in retail, a sector that has seen more than a dozen bankruptcies this year as brick-and-mortar chains lose out to online shopping sites such as Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O).

“It seems that the ones who are doing well are the ones who are providing service or goods that people view as being rare,” Lasry said. “Luxury retail doesn’t seem to have gotten hurt.”

Lasry, whose fund focuses on restructurings and distressed assets, said he also has invested in the debt of specialty retailer J. Crew Group Inc.

“In certain situations, where you buy the senior debt, we think we are fine in those situations,” with yields seen in the mid- to high-teens or above 20 percent, including capital appreciation, Lasry said.

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Neiman Marcus earlier this year said it was exploring strategic alternatives including a sale and had been in talks with competitor Hudson’s Bay Co (HBC.TO), the owner of the Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue chains. It ended talks to sell in June.

J. Crew completed a restructuring this year that trimmed its $2.1 billion debt load and pushed back deadlines to repay by two years.

    Other retailers that have filed for bankruptcy this year include toy chain Toys “R” Us Inc, fashion house BCBG Max Azria Global Holdings LLC and discount shoe seller Payless Holdings LLC.

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    Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Jennifer Ablan and Leslie Adler

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