Women's World Cup: Umbro's Canadian Arm in Bankruptcy Proceedings

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Canada 2015 organizing committee chair Victor Montagliani joined members of the national teams in March to unveil the new Umbro-supplied #CanadaRED kit (CSA)
(WFI) Umbro’s Canadian licensee and distributor owes creditors nearly $41 million and has until August to file a reorganization proposal with the Province of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice, World Football INSIDER has learned.

RMP Athletic Locker and sister company Core Sports Inc. were granted the reprieve June 19, nearly a month after filing under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and two days before Canada’s round of 16 match against Switzerland at the Women’s World Cup.

PricewaterhouseCoopers is the proposal trustee for the Mississauga, Ontario-based companies, ultimately owned by brothers Mike and Paul Dyson. RMP and Core lost $10.4 million over the four fiscal years ended Dec. 31, 2014, according to PWC’s report.

Canada is the only Umbro-supplied national team competing in the Women’s World Cup.

Canada Soccer switched from Adidas to Umbro in 2011 and RMP renewed the deal last September. In March, it unveiled the new #CanadaRED kits for Canada 2015 and the men’s team’s bid to qualify for Russia 2018.

RMP vice-president Mike Shoemaker said it is business as usual, despite the company’s woes. “Umbro hasn’t been affected by this in any way shape or form, it has nothing to do with deliveries,” Shoemaker said. “We’re selling product every day."

RMP laid-off 101 of the 125 staff at its head office, warehouses and sales office after the filing. PWC’s report shows that the insolvent company had C$50.4 million in liabilities as of April 30. RMP lost $1.6 million on $23 million in 2014 sales, but the report did not disclose sales figures for its Umbro lines.

Shoemaker said the Umbro business is healthy and growing, but the marketplace is in turmoil as consumers switch to online shopping.

The report said: “RMP’s losses in the period 2012 to 2015 were attributed to the loss of a major license and distribution agreement, the unprofitability of certain brands in the current retail environment, the inability to successfully restructure its overhead expenses and higher product costs related to the decline of the Canadian dollar.”

As for Canada Soccer jerseys for public sale during Canada 2015, “there’s enough supply in the supply chain right now in retail,” Shoemaker said. “Like everyone else right now we’re scrambling, we have some left held in reserve that we will push where we need to at stadium level, for the most part a lot of that product is at retail.”

Sandra Gage, Canada 2015 chief marketing officer and Canadian Soccer Association director of business development, did not respond to INSIDER's request for comment.

Founded in 1924 by the Humphreys brothers of Manchester, the Double Diamond rocketed to prominence when England wore it to victory in the 1966 World Cup. Nike bought Umbro in 2008 and sold it four years later to New York-headquartered Iconix Brand Group for $225 million. In January 2014, RMP became the grassroots team wear, footwear and equipment supplier to specialty retailers in the U.S.

Nike is the leading supplier of Canada 2015 teams, counting 11 including U.S., Brazil and China. FIFA ball supplier Adidas has its three-stripes on six teams, including Germany. Puma supplies three nations and New Balance, Marathon and Grand Sport one each.

By  Bob Mackin

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