TORONTO — Shoe distributor Sherson Group Inc., which operates Nine West retail stores in Canada, has filed for bankruptcy protection with the Ontario Superior Court.
Court documents say the Toronto-based company owes $32.2 million to more than 60 different suppliers, lenders and other businesses.
Included on the list is $4.7 million owed to the Bank of Montreal for certain loans and $19.1 million to Nine West Group Inc., the New York-based company which licences its name to Sherson Group.
The documents also say private investment firm BDC Capital, based in Toronto, is owed $3 million.
Sherson Group operates at least 47 Nine West locations in Canada, and owns Canadian licences for brands like Anne Klein, Bandolino, Charles David, Easy Spirit and Enzo Angiolini.
The company's website says about 500 employees work across its wholesale and retail operations.
The move comes as the country's retail industry faces a steep decline in the value of the Canadian dollar and seismic shifts in competition, with longtime domestic retailers like Jacob, Bikini Village, Mexx Canada and Smart Set facing severe financial problems or bankruptcy.
Earlier this year, discount retailer Target Corp. exited Canada while retailers are facing an extra squeeze from the emergence of high-end U.S. department store Nordstrom and plans to open Saks Fifth Avenue stores and Saks Off Fifth discount outlets.
Representatives at Richter Advisory Group, which is the trustee for the Sherson Group filing process, were not immediately available for comment.
Follow @dj_friend on Twitter.
David Friend, The Canadian Press