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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

  ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended: December 31, 2020

OR

  TRANSITION REPORT UNDER SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Commission File Number: 001-37527

XCEL BRANDS, INC.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware

    

76-0307819

(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

1333 Broadway, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

(347) 727-2474

(Issuer’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Exchange Act:

Title of each class

    

Trading Symbol

    

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, $0.001 par value per share

XELB

NASDAQ Global Market

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Exchange Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes         No     

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes         No     

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act 1934 during the past 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes         No     

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes         No     

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.     

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer    

    

Accelerated filer    

Non-accelerated filer    

Smaller reporting company    

Emerging Growth Company    

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.     

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.     

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes         No     

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold, or the average bid and asked price of such common equity, as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently computed second fiscal quarter was $10,967,000 based upon the closing price of such common stock on June 30, 2020.

The number of shares of the issuer’s common stock issued and outstanding as of March 30, 2021 was 19,260,862 shares.

Documents Incorporated By Reference: None


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

    

Page

PART I

Item 1

Business

3

Item 1A

Risk Factors

12

Item 2

Properties

30

Item 3

Legal Proceedings

30

Item 4

Mine Safety Disclosures

30

PART II

Item 5

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

31

Item 6

Selected Financial Data

34

Item 7

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

34

Item 7A

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

49

Item 8

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

50

Item 9

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

88

Item 9A

Controls and Procedures

88

Item 9B

Other Information

89

PART III

Item 10

Directors, Executive Officers, Promoters, Control Persons and Corporate Governance; Compliance with Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act

89

Item 11

Executive Compensation

97

Item 12

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

100

Item 13

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

102

Item 14

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

105

PART IV

Item 15

Exhibits

106

Signatures

109

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PART I

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, that involve risks and uncertainties. All statements other than statements of historical fact contained in this Annual Report, including statements regarding future events, our future financial performance, business strategy and plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. We have attempted to identify forward-looking statements by terminology including “anticipates,” “believes,” “can,” “continue,” “ongoing,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “may,” “appears,” “suggests,” “future,” “likely,” “goal,” “plans,” “potential,” “projects,” “predicts,” “seeks,” “should,” “would,” “guidance,” “confident” or “will” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our anticipated revenue, expenses, profitability, strategic plans and capital needs. These statements are based on information available to us on the date hereof and our current expectations, estimates and projections and are not guarantees of future performance. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors, including, without limitation, the risks outlined under “Risk Factors” or elsewhere in this Annual Report, as well as adverse effects on us, our licensees and customers due to natural disasters, pandemic disease and other unexpected events, which may cause our or our industry’s actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risks emerge from time to time and it is not possible for us to predict all risk factors, nor can we address the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause our actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. Except as expressly required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed circumstances or any other reason.

The "Isaac Mizrahi New York®," “Isaac Mizrahi®," "IsaacMizrahiLIVE®," "Isaac Mizrahi Jeans," "Isaac Mizrahi CRAFT," "Judith Ripka LTD," "Judith Ripka Collection," "Judith Ripka Legacy," "Judith Ripka®,” "Judith Ripka Sterling," "Halston," "Halston Heritage," "H by Halston®," "H Halston," "Roy Frowick," "C. Wonder," and "C. Wonder Limited" brands and all related logos and other trademarks or service marks of the Company appearing in this Annual Report are the property of the Company.

Item 1.   Business

Overview

Xcel Brands, Inc. (the “Company,” “Xcel,” or “We”) is a media and consumer products company engaged in the design, production, marketing, wholesale and direct-to-consumer sales of branded apparel, footwear, accessories, fine jewelry, home goods and other consumer products, and the acquisition of dynamic consumer lifestyle brands.

Xcel was founded in 2011 with a vision to reimagine shopping, entertainment, and social media as one thing. Xcel owns the Isaac Mizrahi brand (the “Isaac Mirzrahi Brand”), the Halston brand (the “Halston Brand”), the Judith Ripka brand (the “Ripka Brand”), the C Wonder brand (the “C Wonder Brand”), the LOGO by Lori Goldstein brand (the “Logo Lori Goldstein Brand”), and the Longaberger brand (the “Longaberger Brand”), pioneering a true omni-channel sales strategy which includes the promotion and sale of products under its brands through interactive television, digital live-stream shopping, brick-and-mortar retail, wholesale and e-commerce channels to be everywhere their customers shop. The Company’s brands have generated over $3 billion in retail sales via live streaming in interactive television and digital channels alone.

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Our objective is to build a diversified portfolio of lifestyle consumer products brands through organic growth and the strategic acquisition of new brands. To grow our brands, we are focused on the following primary strategies:

Distribution and/or licensing of our brands for sale through interactive television (i.e., QVC, HSN, The Shopping Channel, TVSN, CJO, etc.);
wholesale distribution of our brands to retailers that sell to the end consumer;
direct-to-consumer distribution of our brands through e-commerce and live streaming;
licensing our brands to manufacturers and retailers for promotion and distribution through e-commerce, social commerce, and traditional brick-and-mortar retail channels whereby we provide certain design services; and
acquiring additional consumer brands and integrating them into our operating platform and leveraging our operating infrastructure and distribution relationships.

We believe that Xcel offers a unique value proposition to our retail and direct-to-consumer customers, and our licensees for the following reasons:

our management team, including our officers’ and directors’ experience in, and relationships within the industry;
our deep knowledge and expertise in live streaming;
our design, production, sales, marketing, and supply chain and integrated technology platform that enables us to design and distribute trend-right product; and
our significant media and internet presence and distribution.

Our design, production and supply chain platform was developed to shorten the supply chain cycle by utilizing state-of-the-art supply chain management technology, trend analytics, and data science to actively monitor fashion trends and read and react to customer demands.

Recent Highlights

In November 2019, we acquired a controlling interest in the Longaberger Brand, an authentic American heritage home products brand that began making artisan baskets in 1896, and we are re-imagining it in 2021 as a digital live-streaming shopping marketplace built to bring women together to support local communities.

In April 2021, we acquired the Lori Goldstein brands, including LOGO by Lori Goldstein, a sophisticated lifestyle brand designed to bring style to the masses and that speaks to everyday women. The acquisition focuses on growing the popular brand through our omni-channel approach including live streaming, e-commerce, and interactive television, and expanding the business into new products and categories.

Company History and Corporate Information

The Company was incorporated on August 31, 1989 in the State of Delaware under the name Houston Operating Company. On April 19, 2005, we changed our name to NetFabric Holdings, Inc. On September 29, 2011, Xcel Brands, Inc., a privately-held Delaware corporation (which we refer to as Old Xcel), Netfabric Acquisition Corp., a Delaware corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, and certain stockholders of the Company entered into an agreement of merger and plan of reorganization pursuant to which Netfabric Acquisition Corp. was merged with and into Old Xcel, with Old Xcel surviving as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company. On September 29, 2011, we changed our name to Xcel Brands, Inc.

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Our principal office is located at 1333 Broadway, New York, NY 10018. Our telephone number is (347) 727-2474. Additionally, we maintain websites for our respective brands and an e-commerce site for our Judith Ripka brand at www.isaacmizrahi.com, www.judithripka.com, www.cwonder.com, and www.lorigoldstein.com. Our corporate website is www.xcelbrands.com.

Our Brand Portfolio

Currently, our brand portfolio consists of the Isaac Mizrahi, Judith Ripka, Halston, C Wonder, Logo Lori Goldstein, and Longaberger Brands, and the various labels under these brands. We acquired the Logo Lori Goldstein Brand, and the various labels under the brand, in April 2021.

Isaac Mizrahi

Isaac Mizrahi is an iconic American brand that stands for timeless, cosmopolitan style. Isaac Mizrahi, the designer, launched his eponymous label in 1987 to critical acclaim, including four Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awards. Since then, this brand has become known and beloved around the world for its colorful and stylish designs. As a true lifestyle brand, under Xcel’s ownership it has expanded into over 150 different product categories including sportswear, footwear, handbags, watches, eyewear, tech accessories, home, and other merchandise. Under our ubiquitous-channel retail sales strategy, the brand is available across various distribution channels to reach customers wherever they shop: better department stores, such as Saks and Hudson’s Bay; interactive television, including QVC and The Shopping Channel; and national specialty retailers. The brand is also sold in various global locations, including Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Japan. We acquired the Isaac Mizrahi brand in September 2011.

Judith Ripka

Judith Ripka is a luxury jewelry brand founded by Judith Ripka in 1977. This brand has become known worldwide for its distinctive designs featuring intricate metalwork, vibrant colors, and distinctive use of texture. The Judith Ripka Fine Jewelry collection consists of pieces in 18 karat gold and sterling silver with precious colored jewels and diamonds, and is currently available in fine jewelry stores, luxury retailers, and via e-commerce. Ms. Ripka launched an innovative collection of fine jewelry on QVC under the Judith Ripka Brand in 1996, where the brand offers customers fine jewelry, watches, and accessories at more accessible price points, including precious and semi-precious stones and multi-faceted diamonique stones made exclusively for QVC. We acquired the Ripka brand in April 2014. In December 2017, we launched our Judith Ripka Fine Jewelry e-commerce operations and in January 2018, we launched the Judith Ripka Fine Jewelry wholesale operations.

Halston

The Halston brand was founded by Roy Halston Frowick in the 1960s, and quickly became one of the most important American fashion brands in the world, becoming synonymous with glamour, sophistication, and femininity. Halston’s groundbreaking designs and visionary style still influence designers around the world today. We acquired the H Halston brands in December 2014, and since our acquisition of the Halston Heritage brands in February 2019, we own all Halston labels under our brands. The brand is available across various distribution channels including premium and better department stores, e-commerce, interactive television, and national specialty retailers.

C Wonder

The C Wonder brand was founded by J. Christopher Burch in 2011 to offer a wide-ranging assortment of beautiful, versatile, and spirited products that are designed to transport its customers to a place they have never been. C Wonder offers women’s clothing, footwear, jewelry and accessories, and delightful surprises at every turn. We acquired the C Wonder Brand in July 2015, and the brand is available at mass merchant retailers, clubs, and certain off-price retailers.

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Longaberger

Longaberger is an iconic American heritage home and collectibles brand that began making baskets in 1896 and launched a direct sales company in 1973 by the Longaberger family. The brand is best known for its distinctive handwoven baskets. We acquired a 50% ownership interest in this brand through a joint venture with Hilco Global in November 2019, and are actively managing this brand to build on its history and bring it into the future as a digital first live-streaming and social commerce business. We launched our Longaberger e-commerce and live-streaming operations in February 2020.

Lori Goldstein

Lori Goldstein helped the fashion industry recognize the value and influence of a visionary stylist by telling powerful, transformative, and authentic stories through the static image. After 35 years behind the camera, Lori ventured in front of it in 2009 when she launched LOGO by Lori Goldstein, an exclusive collection for QVC. LOGO was born from Lori's lifelong passion for layering clothes and her "anything goes with everything" approach to fashion, and is a sophisticated lifestyle brand that embraces Lori's aesthetic and speaks to everyday women. LOGO draws inspiration from the beauty of women of all ages and sizes and gives them the tools and fashion pieces to be their most fabulous selves. We acquired the Lori Goldstein brands, including LOGO by Lori Goldstein, in April 2021, and the brand is currently available through the  QVC channel.

Growth Strategy

Our vision is intended to reimagine shopping, entertainment, and social media as one. To fulfill this vision, we plan to continue to grow the reach of our brand portfolio by leveraging our technology and live-streaming platforms, design expertise, our integrated design, production and supply chain technology platforms, marketing expertise, and our relationships with our retail and direct-to-consumer customers, key licensees, manufacturers, and retailers. We also continue to market our brands through our innovative true omni-channel retail sales strategy. Our strategy includes distribution through interactive television, e-commerce, live streaming, and traditional brick-and-mortar retail channels. By leveraging the reach and consumer engagement of our media partners, and by developing rich online video and social media content under our brands, our strategy is to drive increased customer engagement and generate sales across our channels of distribution. Key elements of our strategy include:

Expand and Leverage our Live-Streaming Platform. We recently launched our live-streaming platform through our Longaberger brand social commerce technology platform with the goal to build the world’s largest digital marketplace powered by live-streaming and micro-influencers for home and other related products designed to create a better lifestyle. We plan to leverage this technology across our other brands.
Expand and Leverage Design, Production and Supply Chain Platform. Our design, production and supply chain platform shortens the supply chain cycle by utilizing state-of-the-art product lifecycle management (“PLM”) and Enterprise Resource Planning (“ERP”) systems, proprietary merchandising strategies, 3D design, trend analytics, data science and consumer insight testing to actively monitor fashion trends, while leveraging our experience and know-how to quickly design, test, market, produce, and source high-quality goods. Given some of the challenges facing the department store industry today, including declining customer traffic, aggressive mark-down cadence, and inability to respond quickly to customer demands, we developed this design, production and supply chain platform to address these challenges and deliver a 360-degree solution to our retail partners, including design, marketing, production, and sourcing services. We intend to leverage the platform across additional brands and retailers, and we believe that it provides us with a value-added service that differentiates us from our competitors and competing brands.
Continue to Develop our Integrated Technologies Platform. We are developing and investing in integrated technologies including live-streaming and direct sales, e-commerce, customer relationship management, 3D design, trend analytics, data science, and consumer insight testing as a refinement of our marketing, design, production and supply chain capabilities in order to market, design, plan, and distribute our products more efficiently and intelligently. Driven by short-lead marketing, such as live streaming, social media, and new direct-to-consumer business models, consumers now expect more from brands and retailers, and we believe that the solution is to deliver to the customer what they want, when they want it, at a price that is fair. Advances in 3D design technologies and software allow us

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to design more efficiently, seamlessly communicate technical aspects of designs with our manufacturing partners, and produce better, more consistent products. Additionally, photo-realistic images generated by the current generation of 3D design software can be used to perform consumer insight testing on products, to determine demand and plan quantities for production even before a sample is made. Trend analytics including advanced algorithms focused on internet searches, social media, and inventory trends provide a forward-looking view of consumer design preferences and allow us to design into trends early-on, while data analytics will allow us to review performance and respond quickly in our read-and-react design, production and supply chain model. Live streaming and customer relationship management systems enable us to better demonstrate our products and foster high engagement with our customers. We will also seek to utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate at least a portion of these functions.

We believe that our investment into these technologies position us to provide unique solutions to a rapidly changing environment. More importantly, we believe that it will help us continue to grow our business across our brands, and the integrated technologies platform itself should develop more significant value as we continue to build and develop it.

Expand Other Retail Partnerships. We have entered into promotional collaborations and/or marketing agreements with large global companies such as Sesame Street, Hewlett Packard, Revlon, Johnson & Johnson, and Kleenex, and have developed exclusive programs through certain licensees for specialty retailers such as Best Buy and Bed Bath & Beyond. We plan to continue to develop strategic relationships under our brands that can leverage our media reach through interactive television and social media to drive traffic and sales for our brands and retail partners and enhance the visibility of our brands.
Expand Wholesale License Relationships. We have entered into numerous license agreements for various product categories under our brands. We have expanded the presence of our brands at department stores and have launched additional categories in the department store channel, including footwear, handbags, dresses, costume jewelry, and sunglasses. We continue to seek opportunities to expand the businesses of our licensees, as well as entering into licenses for new categories under each of our brands where the category is authentic to the brand, for both our existing brands as well as brands that we may acquire and/or develop in the future.
Deliver Quality Product Offerings. We employ a professional team to provide best in class design, production and distribution to ensure that our products adhere to stringent quality standards and design specifications that we have developed. We intend to continue to invest in our design and marketing capabilities in order to differentiate our services to our customers and licensees and our brands in the marketplace.
Acquire, Develop or Partner with Brands. We plan to continue to pursue the acquisition and/or development of additional brands or the rights to brands which we believe are synergistic and complementary to our overall strategy. Our brand acquisition and development strategy are focused on dynamic brands that we believe:
oare synergistic to our existing portfolio of brands;
oare strategic to our growth in a channel of distribution; and
oare expected to be accretive to our earnings.

Licensing Design, Production and Marketing

Interactive TV

Qurate Retail Group (“Qurate”) is an important strategic partner in our interactive television business, is our largest licensee for our Mizrahi, Ripka, Halston, and Longaberger brands. Qurate’s business model is to promote and sell products through its interactive television programs featured on QVC and HSN and related e-commerce and mobile platforms. We employ and manage on-air spokespersons under each of these brands in order to promote products under our brands on QVC and HSN. According to Qurate, Qurate had global revenues of approximately $14.2 billion in 2020, of which e-commerce sales represented approximately $8.9 billion, and Qurate’s programming currently reaches approximately 380

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million homes worldwide. Qurate is ranked as one of the Top 10 e-commerce retailers in North America according to Digital Commerce 360. Our agreements with Qurate allow our on-air spokespersons to promote our non-Qurate product lines and strategic partnerships under the Mizrahi, Ripka, and Halston brands through QVC’s and HSN’s programs, subject to certain parameters including the payment of a portion of our non-Qurate revenues to Qurate. We believe that our ability to continue to leverage Qurate’s media platform, reach, and attractive customer base to cross-promote products in and drive traffic to our other channels of distribution provides us a unique advantage.

The licensing business model allows us to focus on our core competencies of design, production, marketing, and brand management without much of the investment requirements in inventory associated with traditional consumer product companies. The Isaac Mizrahi Brand is licensed through our wholly owned subsidiary, IM Brands, LLC (“IM Brands”), the Ripka Brand is licensed through our wholly owned subsidiary, JR Licensing, LLC (“JR Licensing”) and the Halston Brand is licensed through our wholly owned subsidiaries, H Licensing, LLC (“H Licensing”) and H Heritage Licensing, LLC ("H Heritage Licensing") and the Longaberger brand is licensed through our joint venture Longaberger Licensing, LLC (“Longaberger Licensing”).

Qurate Agreements

Through our wholly owned subsidiaries, we have entered into direct-to-retail license agreements with Qurate Retail Group (“Qurate”), pursuant to which we design, and Qurate sources and sells, various products under our IsaacMizrahiLIVE brand, the Judith Ripka brands, the H by Halston brand, and the Longaberger brand. These agreements include, respectively, the Qurate Agreement for the Mizrahi Brand (the "IM QVC Agreement"), the Qurate Agreement for the Ripka Brand (the "Ripka QVC Agreement"), the Qurate Agreement for the H Halston Brand (the “H QVC Agreement"), and the Qurate Agreement for the Longaberger Brand (the “Longaberger QVC Agreement”) (collectively, the “QVC Agreements”). Qurate owns the rights to all designs produced under these agreements, and the agreements include the sale of products across various categories through Qurate’s television media and related internet sites.

Pursuant to these agreements, we have granted to Qurate and its affiliates the exclusive, worldwide right to promote our branded products, and the right to use and publish the related trademarks, service marks, copyrights, designs, logos, and other intellectual property rights owned, used, licensed and/or developed by us, for varying terms as set forth below. The agreements include automatic renewal periods as detailed below unless terminated by either party.

Xcel Commenced

Agreement

    

Current Term Expiry

    

Automatic Renewal

    

Brand with QVC

    

QVC Product Launch

IM QVC Agreement

September 30, 2021

one-year period

September 2011

2010

Ripka QVC Agreement

March 31, 2022

 

one-year period

 

April 2014

 

1999

H QVC Agreement

December 31, 2022

 

three-year period

 

January 2015

 

2015

Longaberger QVC Agreement

October 31, 2021

 

two-year period

 

November 2019

 

2019

In connection with the foregoing and during the same periods, Qurate and its subsidiaries have the exclusive, worldwide right to use the names, likenesses, images, voices, and performances of our spokespersons to promote the respective products. Under the IM QVC Agreement, IM Brands has also granted to Qurate and its affiliates, during the same period, exclusive, worldwide rights to promote third party vendor co-branded products that, in addition to bearing and being marketed in connection with the trademarks and logos of such third-party vendors, also bear or are marketed in connection with the IsaacMizrahiLIVE trademark and related logo.

Under the QVC Agreements, Qurate is obligated to make payments to us on a quarterly basis, based upon the net retail sales of the specified branded products. Net retail sales are defined as the aggregate amount of all revenue generated through the sale of the specified branded products by Qurate and its subsidiaries under the QVC Agreements, excluding freight, shipping and handling charges, customer returns, and sales, use, or other taxes.

Notwithstanding our grant of worldwide promotion rights to Qurate, we may, with the permission of Qurate, sell the respective branded products (i) to better or prestige retailers, but excluding discount divisions of such companies and mass merchants, (ii) via specifically branded brick-and-mortar retail stores, and (iii) via company websites, in exchange for making reverse royalty payments to Qurate based on the net retail sales of such products through such channels – with the

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exception of the Longaberger Brand, for which no reverse royalty payments are required to be made to Qurate under the terms of the applicable agreement.

Also, under the QVC Agreements, except for the Longaberger QVC Agreement, we will pay a royalty participation fee to Qurate on revenue earned from the sale, license, consignment, or any other form of distribution of any products, bearing, marketed in connection with or otherwise associated with the specified trademarks and brands.

Under the QVC Agreements, we are generally restricted from selling products under the specified respective brands or trademarks (including the trademarks, copyrights, designs, logos, and related intellectual property themselves) to certain mass merchants. The QVC Agreements generally prohibit us from selling products under the specified respective brands or any of our other trademarks and brands to a direct competitor of Qurate (generally defined as any entity other than Qurate whose primary means of deriving revenue is the transmission of interactive television programs) without Qurate’s consent. In addition, during the terms of the IM QVC Agreement and the Ripka QVC Agreement, and for one year thereafter, the respective subsidiary may not, without Qurate’s consent, promote, advertise, endorse, or sell (i) the specified branded products through any means or (ii) any products through interactive television. During the term of the H QVC Agreement, and for one year thereafter, H Licensing may not, without Qurate’s consent, promote, advertise, endorse, or sell any products, including the H by Halston brands, through interactive television.

In addition to the foregoing, certain of the agreements permit us to promote brick-and-mortar collections on Qurate’s television programs subject to certain terms and restrictions.

For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, net revenue from Qurate collectively accounted for 60% and 53%, respectively, of the total revenues of the Company.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, the Company transitioned and discontinued licensing of the H Halston brand to QVC. The Company began wholesale supply sales of the H Halston products under arrangements with HSN and certain QVC global affiliates and other unrelated interactive television networks.

Other Licensing Agreements

We have entered into numerous other licensing agreements for sales and distribution through e-commerce and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. Authorized distribution channels include department stores, mass merchant retailers, clubs, and national specialty retailers such as Best Buy and Bed Bath & Beyond. Under our other licenses, a supplier is granted rights, typically on an exclusive basis, to a single or small group of related product categories for sale to multiple accounts within an approved channel of distribution and territory. Our other license agreements typically provide the licensee with the exclusive rights for a certain product category in a specified territory and/or distribution channel under a specific brand or brands. Our other license agreements cover various categories, including but not limited to women’s apparel, footwear, and accessories; bath and body; jewelry; home products; men’s apparel and accessories; children’s and infant apparel, footwear, and accessories; and electronics cases and accessories. The terms of the agreements generally range from three to six years with renewal options.

We are in discussions with other potential licensees and strategic partners to license and/or co-brand the Mizrahi brand, Ripka brand, Halston brand, C Wonder brand and Longaberger brand for additional categories. In certain cases, we have engaged licensing agents to assist in the procurement of such licenses for which we or our licensees pay such agents’ fees based upon a percentage of the net sales of licensed products by such licensees, or a percentage of the royalty payments that we receive from such licensees. While many of the new and proposed licensing agreements will likely require us to provide seasonal design services, most of our new and prospective licensing partners have their own design staff, and we therefore expect low incremental overhead costs related to expanding our licensing business. We will endeavor, where possible, to require licensees to provide guaranteed minimum royalties under their license agreements.

Our licensees currently sell our branded licensed products through brick-and-mortar retailers, e-commerce, and in certain cases supply products to interactive television companies for sale through their television programs and/or through their internet websites. We generally recognize revenues from our other licenses based on a percentage of the sales of products under our brands, but excluding (i) sales of products to interactive television networks, where we receive a retail royalty

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directly from the interactive television licensee, and (ii) sales of products to e-commerce sites operated by us. Additionally, based upon guaranteed minimum royalty provisions required under many of the license agreements, we are able to recognize revenue related to certain other licenses based on the greater of the sales-based royalty or the guaranteed minimum royalty.

Wholesale and e-Commerce

In February 2020, we added our Longaberger brand to our e-commerce and live-streaming operations.  We continue to expand our wholesale business by adding new domestic accounts, expanding in international markets, and pursuing independent retailers for our jewelry business. Our strategy is to continue to grow our direct-to-consumer and live-streaming businesses into a significant portion of our overall business.

Collaborations

In certain cases, the Company collaborates with and provides promotional services to other brands or companies, which arrangements may include the use of our brands for the promotion of such company or brands through the internet, television, or other digital content, print media, or other marketing campaigns featuring in-person appearances by our celebrity spokespersons, the development of limited collections of products (which may include co-branded products) for such company, or other services as determined on a case-by-case basis. These have included promotions with Sesame Street, Hewlett Packard, Revlon, Johnson & Johnson, and Kleenex.

We also provide certain technology services to our retail partners and certain of our licensees under our proprietary integrated technology platform.

Marketing

Marketing is a critical element to maximize brand value to our licensees and our Company. Therefore, we employ live streaming, social media, and other marketing and public relations support for our brands.

Given our true omni-channel retail sales strategy focusing on the sale of branded products through various distribution channels (including live-streaming, e-commerce, interactive television, and traditional brick-and-mortar sales channels), our marketing efforts currently focus on leveraging micro and mega-influencers, entertainment tie-ins, PR and editorial, social media campaigns, personal appearances, and digital content in order to drive retail sales of product and consumer awareness across our various sales distribution channels. We seek to create the intersection where shopping, entertainment, and social media meet. As such, our marketing is currently conducted primarily through live-streaming and social media, videos, images, and other digital content that are all updated regularly and are amplified by micro and mega-influencers and entertainment tie-ins. Our efforts also include promoting namesakes of our brands and our personalities through various media including live-streaming, television, design for performances, and other events. We also work with our retail partners to leverage their marketing resources, including e-commerce platforms and related digital marketing campaigns, social media platforms, direct mail pieces, and public relations efforts.

Our agreements with Qurate allow our brand spokespersons to promote our non-Qurate product lines and strategic partnerships under our brands through Qurate’s programs, subject to certain parameters including the payment of a portion of our non-Qurate revenues to Qurate. We believe that this provides us with the ability to leverage Qurate’s media platform (including television, e-commerce, and social media) and Qurate’s customer base of approximately 380 million households worldwide to cross-promote products in and drive traffic to our other channels of distribution. Many of our licensees make advertising and marketing contributions to the Company under their license agreements which are used to fund marketing-related expenses and further promote our brands as we deem appropriate. Certain of the wholesale licenses contain requirements to provide advertising or marketing for our brands under their respective license agreements.

We also market the Mizrahi brand through www.isaacmizrahi.com, Halston Brand through www.halston.com, the Judith Ripka Fine Jewelry brand through www.judithripka.com, the C Wonder brand through www.cwonder.com, the Logo Lori Goldstein brand through www.lorigoldstein.com, and the Longaberger brand through www.longaberger.com. Through our

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websites, we are able to present the products under our brands to customers with branding that reflects each brand’s heritage and unique point-of-view.

Our e-commerce businesses’ growth is dependent on live-streaming and other marketing to drive traffic to our websites and converting our visitors into customers.

Competition

Each of our current brands has and any future acquired brand will likely have many competitors within each of its specific distribution channels that span a broad variety of product categories, including the apparel, footwear, accessories, jewelry, home furnishings and décor, food products, and sporting goods industries. These competitors have the ability to compete with the Company and our licensees in terms of fashion, quality, price, products, and/or marketing, and ultimately retail floor space and consumer spending.

Because many of our competitors have significantly greater cash, revenues, and resources than we do, we must work to differentiate ourselves from our direct and indirect competitors to successfully compete for market share with the brands we own and for future acquisitions. We believe that the following factors help differentiate our Company in an increasingly crowded competitive landscape:

our management team, including our officers’ and directors’ historical track records and relationships within the industry;
our brand management platform, which has a strong focus on design, product, marketing, and technology; and
our operating strategies of wholesales and direct-to consumer sales and licensing brands with significant media presence and driving sales through our true omni-channel retail sales strategy across interactive television, brick-and-mortar, live streaming, and e-commerce distribution channels.

We expect our existing and future licenses to relate to products in the apparel, footwear, accessories, jewelry, home goods, and other consumer products industries, in which our licensees face intense competition, including from our other brands and licensees. In general, competitive factors include quality, price, style, name recognition, and service. In addition, various fashion trends and the limited availability of shelf space could affect competition for our licensees’ products. Many of our licensees’ competitors have greater financial, distribution, marketing, and other resources than our licensees and have achieved significant name recognition for their brand names. Our licensees may be unable to successfully compete in the markets for their products, and we may not be able to continue to compete successfully with respect to our licensing arrangements.

Trademarks

The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns and exploits the Mizrahi brands, which include the trademarks and brands Isaac Mizrahi, Isaac Mizrahi New York, IMNYC Isaac Mizrahi, and IsaacMizrahiLIVE; the Ripka brands, which include the trademarks and brands Judith Ripka LTD, Judith Ripka Collection, Judith Ripka Legacy, Judith Ripka, and Judith Ripka Sterling; all Halston brands and trademarks, namely, Halston, Halston Heritage, Roy Frowick, H by Halston, and H Halston; the C Wonder brands, which include the trademarks and brands C Wonder and C Wonder Limited; and the Logo Lori Goldstein brands, which include the trademarks and brands LOGO by Lori Goldstein, LOGO, LOGO Links, LOGO Lounge, LOGO Layers, and LOGO Luna. We also manage and have a 50% ownership interest in the brands and trademarks of the Longaberger brand through our joint venture with Hilco Global.

Where laws limit our ability to record in our name trademarks that we have purchased, we have obtained by way of license all necessary rights to operate our business. Certain of these trademarks and associated marks are registered or pending registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in block letter and/or logo formats, as well as in combination with a variety of ancillary designs for use in connection with a variety of product categories, such as apparel, footwear and various other goods and services including, in some cases, home furnishings and decor. The Company intends to renew and maintain registrations as appropriate prior to expiration and it makes efforts to diligently prosecute all pending

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applications consistent with the Company’s business goals. In addition, the Company registers its trademarks in certain other countries and regions around the world as it deems appropriate.

The Company and its licensees do not presently earn a material amount of revenue from either the licensing of our trademarks internationally or the sale of products under our trademarks internationally. However, the Company has registered its trademarks in certain territories where it expects that it may do business in the foreseeable future. If the Company or a licensee intends to make use of the trademarks in international territories, the Company will seek to register its trademarks in such international territories as it deems appropriate based upon factors including the revenue potential, prospective market, and trademark laws in such territory or territories.

Generally, the Company is primarily responsible for monitoring and protecting its trademarks around the world. The Company seeks to require its licensing partners to advise the Company of any violations of its trademark rights of which its licensing partners become aware and relies primarily upon a combination of federal, state, and local laws, as well as contractual restrictions to protect its intellectual property rights both domestically and internationally.

Human Capital

Our employees’ knowledge, social, and personality attributes enable our company to achieve its goals, develop our business, and remain innovative. As of December 31, 2020, we had 60 full-time employees and nine part-time employees. We value our employees and are committed to providing a healthy and safe work environment. For certain key employees, including our brand ambassadors and spokespersons, we typically enter into multi-year employment agreements. Overall, we believe that our relationship with our employees is good. None of our employees are represented by a labor union.

Government Regulation

We are subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations affecting our business, including those promulgated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Flammable Fabrics Act, the Textile Fiber Product Identification Act, the rules and regulations of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and various environmental laws and regulations. We believe that we are in compliance in all material respects with all applicable governmental regulations.

Item 1A.   Risk Factors

In addition to the other information contained herein or incorporated herein by reference, the risks and uncertainties and other factors described below could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and share price and could also cause our future business, financial condition and results of operations to differ materially from the results contemplated by any forward-looking statement we may make herein, in any other document we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), or in any press release or other written or oral statement we may make. Please also see “Forward-Looking Statements” on page 3 for additional information regarding Forward-Looking Statements.

Risks Related to Our Business

We have a limited amount of cash to grow our operations. If we cannot obtain additional sources of cash, our growth prospects and future profitability may be materially adversely affected, and we may not be able to implement our business plan. Such additional financing may not be available on satisfactory terms or it may not be available when needed, or at all.

As of December 31, 2020, we had cash and cash equivalents of approximately $5.0 million. Although we believe that our existing cash and our anticipated cash flow from operations will be sufficient to sustain our operations at our current expense levels for at least 12 months subsequent to the date of the filing of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we may require significant additional cash to satisfy our working capital requirements, expand our operations or acquire additional brands, although historically we have funded acquisitions with debt and equity financing. Our inability to finance our growth, either internally through our operations or externally, may limit our growth potential and our ability to execute

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our business strategy successfully. If we issue securities to raise capital to finance operations and/or pay down or restructure our debt, our existing stockholders may experience dilution. In addition, the new securities may have rights senior to those of our common stock.

Our significant debt obligations could impair our liquidity and financial condition, and in the event we are unable to meet our debt obligations, we could lose ownership of our trademarks and/or other assets.

On April 14, 2021, we entered into a loan and security agreement with Bank Hapoalim B.M. and FEAC Agent LLC and the financial institutions party thereto. We have an outstanding balance of $25.0 million as of April 15, 2021 under this credit facility. We may also assume or incur additional debt, including secured debt, in the future in connection with, or to fund, future acquisitions or for other operating needs.

Our debt obligations:

could impair our liquidity;
could make it more difficult for us to satisfy our other obligations;
are secured by substantially all of our assets;
require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow to payments on our debt obligations, which reduces the availability of our cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures and other corporate requirements;
could impede us from obtaining additional financing in the future for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions and general corporate purposes;
impose restrictions on us with respect to the use of our available cash, including in connection with future transactions;
could limit our ability to execute on our acquisition strategy; and
make us more vulnerable in the event of a downturn in our business prospects and could limit our flexibility to plan for, or react to, changes in our sales and licensing channels.

In the event that we fail in the future to make any required payment under the agreements governing our indebtedness or if we fail to comply with the financial and operating covenants contained in those agreements, we would be in default with respect to that indebtedness and the lenders could declare such indebtedness to be immediately due and payable. Our prior credit facility with Bank Hapoalim B.M. had been amended in the past (including for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019) to eliminate or change the minimum EBITDA (as defined in the agreement) requirement for specified periods. The impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on our operating results could result in our inability to comply with certain debt covenants and require the lenders under the loan agreement to waive compliance with or agree to amend any such covenant to avoid a default. There can be no assurance that the lenders will amend or grant waivers to the loan agreement to adjust or eliminate covenants or waive our non-compliance or breach of a financial or other covenant in the future. Termination of any of the Qurate Agreements would also result in a default under our loan agreement. A debt default could significantly diminish the market value and marketability of our common stock and could result in the acceleration of the payment obligations under all or a portion of our indebtedness, or a renegotiation of our loan agreement with more onerous terms and/or additional equity dilution. Since substantially all of our debt obligations are secured by our assets, upon a default, our lenders may be able to foreclose on our assets.

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A substantial portion of our licensing revenue is concentrated with a limited number of licensees such that the loss of any of such licensees could decrease our revenue and impair our cash flows.

A substantial portion of our revenues has been paid by Qurate, through the respective agreements with Qurate through QVC and HSN. During the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, Qurate accounted for approximately 60% and 53%, respectively, of our total revenue. Because we are dependent on these agreements with Qurate for a significant portion of our revenues, if Qurate were to have financial difficulties, or if Qurate decides not to renew or extend its existing agreements with us, our revenue and cash flows could be reduced substantially. Our cash flow would also be significantly impacted if there were significant delays in our collection of receivables from Qurate. Additionally, we have limited control over the programming that Qurate devotes to our brands or its promotional sales with our brands (such as “Today’s Special Value” sales). Qurate has reduced the programming time it devotes to jewelry and, accordingly, also to our Ripka brand, and if Qurate further reduces or modifies its programming or promotional sales related to our brands, our revenues and cash flows could be reduced substantially. In order to increase sales of a brand through Qurate, we generally require additional television programming time dedicated to the brand by Qurate. Qurate is not required to devote any minimum amount of programming time for any of our brands.

While our business with Qurate has grown since the IsaacMizrahiLIVE brand was launched through December 31, 2017, our 2018 Qurate revenues were flat to 2017, and Qurate revenues declined from 2018 to 2019 and again from 2019 to 2020. There is no guarantee that our Qurate revenues will grow in the future or that they will not decline. Additionally, there can be no assurance that our other licensees will be able to generate sales of products under our brands or grow their existing sales of products under our brands, and if they do generate sales, there is no guarantee that they will not cause a decline in sales of products being sold through Qurate.

Our agreements with Qurate restrict us from selling products under our brands with certain retailers, or branded products we sell on Qurate to any other retailer except certain interactive television channels in other territories approved by Qurate, and provides Qurate with a right to terminate the respective agreement if we breach these provisions.

Although most of our licenses and our Qurate Agreements prohibit the sale of products under our brands to retailers who are restricted by Qurate, and our license agreements with other interactive television companies prohibit such licensees from selling products to retailers restricted by Qurate under the brands we sell on Qurate outside of certain approved territories, one or more of our licensees could sell to a restricted retailer or territory, putting us in breach of our agreements with Qurate and exposing us to potential termination by Qurate. A breach of any of these agreements could also result in Qurate seeking monetary damages, seeking an injunction against us and our other licensees, reducing the programming time allocated to our brands, and/or terminating the respective agreement, which could have a material adverse effect on our net income and cash flows. Termination of any one of our agreements with Qurate would result in a default under our credit facility with Bank Hapoalim B.M. and would also enable Bank Hapoalim B.M. to foreclose on our assets, including our membership interests in our subsidiaries, which combined currently hold all of our trademarks and other intangible assets.

We are dependent upon the promotional services of Isaac Mizrahi as they relate to the Mizrahi brands.

If we lose the services of Isaac Mizrahi, we may not be able to fully comply with the terms of our agreement with Qurate, and it may result in significant reductions in the value of the Mizrahi brands and our prospects, revenues, and cash flows. Isaac Mizrahi is a key individual in our continued promotion of the Mizrahi brands and the principal salesperson of the Mizrahi brands on Qurate. Failure of Isaac Mizrahi to provide services to Qurate could result in a termination of the IM Qurate Agreement, which could trigger an event of default under our credit facility with Bank Hapoalim B.M. Although we have entered into an employment agreement with Mr. Mizrahi and he is a significant stockholder of Xcel, there is no guarantee that we will not lose his services. To the extent that any of Mr. Mizrahi’s services become unavailable to us, we will likely need to find a replacement for Mr. Mizrahi to promote the Mizrahi brands. Competition for skilled designers and high-profile brand promoters is intense, and compensation levels may be high, and there is no guarantee that we would be able to identify and attract a qualified replacement, or if Mr. Mizrahi’s services are not available to us, that we would be able to promote the Mizrahi brands as well as we are able to with Mr. Mizrahi. This could significantly affect the value of the Mizrahi brands and our ability to market the brands, and could impede our ability to fully implement our business

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plan and future growth strategy, which would harm our business and prospects. Additionally, while we acquired all trademarks, image, and likeness of Isaac Mizrahi, pursuant to the acquisition of the Mizrahi business and his employment agreement, Mr. Mizrahi has retained certain rights to participate in outside business activities, including hosting and appearing in television shows, movies and theater productions, and writing and publishing books and other publications. Mr. Mizrahi’s participation in these personal business ventures could limit his availability to us and affect his ability to perform under this employment agreement. Finally, there is no guarantee that Mr. Mizrahi will not take an action that consumers view as negative, which may harm the Mizrahi brands as well as our business and prospects.

We are dependent upon the promotional services of Lori Goldstein as they relate to the Logo Lori Goldstein brands.

If we lose the services of Lori Goldstein, we may not be able to fully comply with the terms of our agreement with Qurate, and it may result in significant reductions in the value of the Logo Lori Goldstein brands and our prospects, revenues, and cash flows. Lori Goldstein is a key individual in our continued promotion of the Logo Lori Goldstein brands and the principal salesperson of the Logo Lori Goldstein brands on Qurate. Failure of Lori Goldstein to provide services to Qurate could result in a termination of related agreements with Qurate, which could trigger an event of default under our credit facility with Bank Hapoalim B.M. Although we have entered into an employment agreement with Ms. Goldstein, there is no guarantee that we will not lose her services. To the extent that any of Ms. Goldstein’s services become unavailable to us, we will likely need to find a replacement for Ms. Goldstein to promote the Logo Lori Goldstein brands. Competition for skilled designers and high-profile brand promoters is intense, and compensation levels may be high, and there is no guarantee that we would be able to identify and attract a qualified replacement, or if Ms. Goldstein’s services are not available to us, that we would be able to promote the Logo Lori Goldstein brands as well as we are able to with Ms. Goldstein. This could significantly affect the value of the Logo Lori Goldstein brands and our ability to market the brands, and could impede our ability to fully implement our business plan and future growth strategy, which would harm our business and prospects. Additionally, while we acquired all trademarks, image, and likeness of Lori Goldstein, pursuant to the acquisition of the Logo Lori Goldstein assets and her employment agreement, Ms. Goldstein has retained certain rights to participate in outside business activities, including hosting and appearing in television shows, movies and theater productions, and writing and publishing books and other publications. Ms. Goldstein’s participation in these personal business ventures could limit her availability to us and affect her ability to perform under this employment agreement. Finally, there is no guarantee that Ms. Goldstein will not take an action that consumers view as negative, which may harm the Logo Lori Goldstein brands as well as our business and prospects.

The failure of our licensees to adequately produce, market, source, and sell quality products bearing our brand names in their license categories or to pay their obligations under their license agreements could result in a decline in our results of operations and impact our ability to service our debt obligations.

Our revenues are dependent on payments made to us under our licensing agreements. Although the licensing agreements for our brands typically require the advance payment to us of a portion of the licensing fees and in many cases provide for guaranteed minimum royalty payments to us, the failure of our licensees to satisfy their obligations under these agreements or their inability to operate successfully or at all, could result in their breach and/or the early termination of such agreements, the non-renewal of such agreements or our decision to amend such agreements to reduce the guaranteed minimums or sales royalties due thereunder, thereby eliminating some or all of that stream of revenue. Moreover, during the terms of the license agreements, we are substantially dependent upon the efforts and abilities of our licensees to maintain the quality and marketability of the products bearing our trademarks, as their failure to do so could materially tarnish our brands, thereby harming our future growth and prospects. In addition, the failure of our licensees to meet their production, manufacturing, sourcing, and distribution requirements or actively market the branded licensed products could cause a decline in their sales and potentially decrease the amount of royalty payments (over and above the guaranteed minimums) due to us. A weak economy or softness in the apparel and retail sectors could exacerbate this risk. This, in turn, could decrease our potential revenues. The concurrent failure by several of our material licensees to meet their financial obligations to us could jeopardize our ability to meet the financial covenant requirements in connection with our debt facility or facilities. Further, such failure may impact our ability to make required payments with respect to such indebtedness. The failure to satisfy our financial covenant requirements or to make such required payments would give our lenders the right to accelerate all obligations under our debt facility or facilities and foreclose on our trademarks, license agreements, and other related assets securing such notes.

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Our business is dependent on continued market acceptance of our brands and any future brands we acquire and the products of our licensees.

Although many of our licensees guarantee minimum net sales and minimum royalties to us, some of our licensees are not yet selling licensed products or currently have limited distribution of licensed products, and a failure of our brands or of products bearing our brands to achieve or maintain broad market acceptance could cause a reduction of our licensing revenues and could further cause existing licensees not to renew their agreements. Such failure could also cause the devaluation of our trademarks, which are our primary assets, making it more difficult for us to renew our current licenses upon their expiration or enter into new or additional licenses for our trademarks. In addition, if such devaluation of our trademarks were to occur, a material impairment in the carrying value of one or more of our trademarks could also occur and be charged as an expense to our operating results. Continued market acceptance of our brands and our licensees’ products, as well as market acceptance of any future products bearing any future brands we may acquire, is subject to a high degree of uncertainty and constantly changing consumer tastes, preferences, and purchasing patterns. Creating and maintaining market acceptance of our licensees’ products and creating market acceptance of new products and categories of products bearing our marks may require substantial marketing efforts, which may, from time to time, also include our expenditure of significant additional funds to keep pace with changing consumer demands, which funds may or may not be available on a timely basis, on acceptable terms or at all. Additional marketing efforts and expenditures may not, however, result in either increased market acceptance of, or additional licenses for, our trademarks or increased market acceptance, or sales, of our licensees’ products. Furthermore, we do not actually design or manufacture all of the products bearing our marks, and therefore, have less control over such products’ quality and design than a traditional product manufacturer might have. The failure of our licensees to maintain the quality of their products could harm the reputation and marketability of our brands, which would adversely impact our business.

Negative claims or publicity regarding Xcel, our brands or our products could adversely affect our reputation and sales regardless of whether such claims are accurate. Social media, which accelerates the dissemination of information, can increase the challenges of responding to negative claims. In the past, many apparel companies have experienced periods of rapid growth in sales and earnings followed by periods of declining sales and losses. Our businesses may be similarly affected in the future.

We expect to achieve growth based upon our plans to expand our business under our existing brands. If we fail to manage our expected future growth, our business and operating results could be materially harmed.

We expect to achieve growth in our existing brands through expansion of our wholesale business and e-commerce platforms. Revenue growth is expected to come from new wholesale accounts and increased traffic to our e-commerce sites. We continue to seek new opportunities and international expansion through interactive television and licensing arrangements. The success of our company, however, will still remain largely dependent on our ability to build and maintain broad market acceptance of our brands, to contract with and retain key licensees and on our licensees’ ability to accurately predict upcoming fashion and design trends within customer bases and fulfill the product requirements of retail channels within the global marketplace.

Our recent growth has placed, and our anticipated future growth will continue to place, considerable demands on our management and other resources. Our ability to compete effectively and to manage future growth, if any, will depend on the sufficiency and adequacy of our current resources and infrastructure and our ability to continue to identify, attract and retain personnel to manage our brands and integrate any brands we may acquire into our operations. There can be no assurance that our personnel, systems, procedures and controls will be adequate to support our operations and properly oversee our brands. The failure to support our operations effectively and properly oversee our brands could cause harm to our brands and have a material adverse effect on the value of such brands and on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we may be unable to leverage our core competencies in managing apparel and jewelry brands to managing brands in new product categories.

Also, there can be no assurance that we will be able to achieve and sustain meaningful growth. Our growth may be limited by a number of factors including increased competition among branded products at brick-and-mortar, internet and interactive retailers, decreased airtime on QVC, competition for retail licenses and brand acquisitions, and insufficient capitalization for future transactions.

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We are subject to the risks associated with our Judith Ripka brand’s wholesale and direct-to-consumer model.

We commenced e-commerce sales and wholesales of our Judith Ripka brand in 2017 and 2018, respectively. In 2019, we completed the transition of our non-interactive television operations of our Judith Ripka brand to a wholesale and direct-to-consumer model, thus changing these operations from a licensed model to a wholesale and direct-to-consumer business model. As a result, we do not have a well-established history of conducting these operations.

We produce product for our Judith Ripka brands to hold as inventory for sales through our website and wholesale accounts. If we misjudge the market for our Judith Ripka products, we may be faced with significant excess inventory for some products and missed opportunities for other products. In addition, weak sales and mark downs by our retailers or our need to liquidate excess inventory could adversely affect our results of operations. If we are not successful in managing our inventory balances, our cash flows and operating results may be adversely affected.

If our customers change their buying patterns, request additional allowances, develop their own private label brands or enter into agreements with national brand manufacturers to sell their products on an exclusive basis, our sales to these customers could be materially adversely affected.

Our customers’ buying patterns, as well as the need to provide additional allowances to customers, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Customers’ strategic initiatives, including developing their own private labels brands, selling national brands on an exclusive basis, reducing the number of vendors they purchase from, or reducing the floor space dedicated to our brands could also impact our sales to these customers. There is a trend among major retailers to concentrate purchasing among a narrowing group of vendors. To the extent that any key customer reduces the number of its vendors or allocates less floor space for our products and, as a result, reduces or eliminates purchases from us, there could be a material adverse effect on us.

Intense competition in the apparel, fashion, and jewelry industries could reduce our sales and profitability.

As a fashion company, we face intense competition from other domestic and foreign apparel, footwear, accessories, and jewelry manufacturers and retailers. Competition has and may continue to result in pricing pressures, reduced profit margins, lost market share, or failure to grow our market share, any of which could substantially harm our business and results of operations. Competition is based on many factors including, without limitation, the following:

establishing and maintaining favorable brand recognition;
developing products that appeal to consumers;
pricing products appropriately;
determining and maintaining product quality;
obtaining access to sufficient floor space in retail locations;
providing appropriate services and support to retailers;
maintaining and growing market share;
developing and maintaining a competitive e-commerce site;
hiring and retaining key employees; and
protecting intellectual property.

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Competition in the apparel, fashion and jewelry industries is intense and is dominated by a number of very large brands, many of which have longer operating histories, larger customer bases, more established relationships with a broader set of suppliers, greater brand recognition, and greater financial, research and development, marketing, distribution, and other resources than we do. These capabilities of our competitors may allow them to better withstand downturns in the economy or apparel, fashion and jewelry industries. Any increased competition, or our failure to adequately address any of these competitive factors which we have seen from time to time, could result in reduced sales, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and operating results.

Competition, along with such other factors as consolidation within the retail industry and changes in consumer spending patterns, could also result in significant pricing pressure and cause the sales environment to be more promotional, as it has been in recent years, impacting our financial results. If promotional pressure remains intense, either through actions of our competitors or through customer expectations, this may cause a further reduction in our sales and gross margins and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and operating results.

Because of the intense competition within our existing and potential wholesale licensees’ markets and the strength of some of their competitors, we and our licensees may not be able to continue to compete successfully.

We expect our existing and future licenses to relate to products in the apparel, footwear, accessories, jewelry, home goods, and other consumer industries, in which our licensees face intense competition, including from our other brands and licensees. In general, competitive factors include quality, price, style, name recognition, and service. In addition, various fashion trends and the limited availability of shelf space could affect competition for our licensees’ products. Many of our licensees’ competitors have greater financial, distribution, marketing, and other resources than our licensees and have achieved significant name recognition for their brand names. Our licensees may be unable to successfully compete in the markets for their products, and we may not be able to continue to compete successfully with respect to our contractual arrangements.

If our competition for licenses increases, or any of our current licensees elect not to renew their licenses or renew on terms less favorable than today, our growth plans could be slowed and our business, financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.

To the extent we seek to acquire additional brands, we will face competition to retain licenses and to complete such acquisitions. The ownership, licensing, and management of brands is becoming a more widely utilized method of managing consumer brands as production continues to become commoditized and manufacturing capacity increases worldwide. We face competition from numerous direct competitors, both publicly and privately-held, including traditional apparel and consumer brand companies, other brand management companies and private equity groups. Companies that traditionally focused on wholesale manufacturing and sourcing models are now exploring licensing as a way of growing their businesses through strategic licensing partners and direct-to-retail contractual arrangements. Furthermore, our current or potential licensees may decide to develop or purchase brands rather than renew or enter into contractual agreements with us. In addition, this increased competition could result in lower sales of products offered by our licensees under our brands. If our competition for licenses increases, it may take us longer to procure additional licenses, which could slow our growth rate.

The extent of our foreign sourcing may adversely affect our business.

We and our licensees work with several manufacturers overseas, primarily located in China and Thailand. A manufacturing contractor’s failure to ship products to us in a timely manner or to meet the required quality standards could cause us to miss the delivery date requirements of our customers for those items. The failure to make timely deliveries may cause customers to cancel orders, refuse to accept deliveries or demand reduced prices, any of which could have a material adverse effect on us. As a result of the magnitude of our foreign sourcing, our business is subject to the following risks:

political and economic instability in countries or regions, especially Asia, including heightened terrorism and other security concerns, which could subject imported or exported goods to additional or more frequent inspections, leading to delays in deliveries or impoundment of goods;

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imposition of regulations, quotas and other trade restrictions relating to imports, including quotas imposed by bilateral textile agreements between the U.S. and foreign countries;
currency exchange rates;
imposition of increased duties, taxes and other charges on imports;
pandemics and disease outbreaks such as COVID-19;
labor union strikes at ports through which our products enter the U.S.;
labor shortages in countries where contractors and suppliers are located;
restrictions on the transfer of funds to or from foreign countries;
disease epidemics and health-related concerns, which could result in closed factories, reduced workforces, scarcity of raw materials and scrutiny or embargoing of goods produced in infected areas;
the migration and development of manufacturing contractors, which could affect where our products are or are planned to be produced;
increases in the costs of fuel, travel and transportation;
reduced manufacturing flexibility because of geographic distance between our foreign manufacturers and us, increasing the risk that we may have to mark down unsold inventory as a result of misjudging the market for a foreign-made product; and
violations by foreign contractors of labor and wage standards and resulting adverse publicity.

If these risks limit or prevent us from manufacturing products in any significant international market, prevent us from acquiring products from foreign suppliers, or significantly increase the cost of our products, our operations could be seriously disrupted until alternative suppliers are found or alternative markets are developed, which could negatively impact our business.

A pandemic outbreak of disease or similar public health threat, or fear of such an event, could have a material adverse impact on the Company's business, operating results and financial condition.

A pandemic or outbreak of disease or similar public health threat, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, or fear of such an event, could have a material adverse impact on our business, operating results, and financial condition. The current COVID-19 pandemic has caused a disruption to our business, beginning in March 2020. The impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic are broad reaching and are having an impact on our licensing and wholesale businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our supply chain as most of our products are manufactured in China, Thailand, and other places around the world affected by this event. Temporary factory closures and the pace of workers returning to work have impacted our contract manufacturers’ ability to source certain raw materials and to produce finished goods in a timely manner. The pandemic is also impacting distribution and logistics providers' ability to operate in the normal course of business. In addition, COVID-19 has resulted in a sudden and continuing decrease in sales for many of our products, resulting in order cancellations. Further, the pandemic has affected the financial health of certain of our customers, and the bankruptcy of certain other customers, including Lord & Taylor and Le Tote, Stein Mart, and Century 21, from which we had an aggregate of $1.21 million of accounts receivable due at December 31, 2020. As a result, we have recognized an allowance for doubtful accounts of $0.97 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, and may be required to make additional adjustments for doubtful accounts which would increase our operating expenses in future periods and negatively impact our operating results, and could result in our failure to meet financial covenants under our credit facility. Financial impacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic include, but are not limited to, lower net sales, adjustments to allowances

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for doubtful accounts due to customer bankruptcy or other inability to pay their amounts due to vendors, the delay of inventory production and fulfillment, potentially further impacting net sales, and potential incremental costs associated with mitigating the effects of the pandemic, including increased freight and logistics costs and other expenses. We expect that the impact the COVID-19 pandemic may have on our operating results could result in our inability to comply with certain debt covenants and require BHI to waive compliance with, or agree to amend, any such covenant to avoid a default. The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, and its dynamic nature, including uncertainties relating to the ultimate geographic spread of the virus, the severity of the disease, the duration of the pandemic, and actions that would be taken by governmental authorities to contain the pandemic or to treat its impact, makes it difficult to forecast any effects on our 2021 results. However, as of the date of this filing, we expect our results for 2021 to be negatively affected.

We may not be entitled to forgiveness of our recently received Paycheck Protection Program loan, and our application for the Paycheck Protection Program loan could in the future be determined to have been impermissible or could result in damage to our reputation.

We received an unsecured loan in the amount of $1,805,856 (the “PPP Loan”) pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program (the “PPP”) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”). The PPP Loan has a two-year term and bears interest at a rate of 1.0% per annum. Monthly principal and interest payments are deferred for six months after the date of disbursement. The PPP Loan may be prepaid at any time prior to maturity with no prepayment penalties. The Promissory Note contains events of default and other provisions customary for a loan of this type. The Paycheck Protection Program provides that the PPP Loan may be partially or wholly forgiven if the funds are used for certain qualifying expenses as described in the CARES Act. Such forgiveness will be determined, subject to limitations, based on the use of loan proceeds for payment of payroll costs and any payments of mortgage interest, rent, and utilities. However, no assurance is provided that forgiveness for any portion of the PPP Loan will be obtained.

In order to apply for the PPP Loan, we were required to certify, among other things, that the current economic uncertainty made the PPP Loan request necessary to support our ongoing operations. We made this certification in good faith after analyzing, among other things, our financial situation and access to alternative forms of capital, and believe that we satisfied all eligibility criteria for the PPP Loan, and that our receipt of the PPP Loan is consistent with the broad objectives of the PPP of the CARES Act. The certification described above did not contain any objective criteria and is subject to interpretation. However, on April 23, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) issued guidance stating that it is unlikely that a public company with substantial market value and access to capital markets will be able to make the required certification in good faith. The lack of clarity regarding loan eligibility under the PPP has resulted in significant media coverage and controversy with respect to public companies applying for and receiving loans. If, despite our good-faith belief that we satisfied all eligible requirements for the PPP Loan, we or any company that we may acquire in the future which received a loan under the PPP, are later determined to have violated any of the laws or governmental regulations that apply to us or such acquiree in connection with the PPP Loan or another loan under the PPP, respectively, such as the False Claims Act, or it is otherwise determined that we or such acquiree were ineligible to receive the PPP Loan or such other loan under the PPP, respectively, we or such acquiree may be subject to penalties, including significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties, and could be required to repay the PPP Loan or such other loan under the PPP, respectively, in its entirety. In addition, our receipt of the PPP Loan or any company that we may acquire in the future which received a loan under the PPP may result in adverse publicity and damage to our reputation, and a review or audit by the SBA or other government entity or claims under the False Claims Act could consume significant financial and management resources.

Fluctuations in the price, availability and quality of raw materials could cause delays and increase costs and cause our operating results and financial condition to suffer.

Fluctuations in the price, availability and quality of the fabrics or other raw materials, particularly cotton, silk, leather and synthetics used in our manufactured apparel, and gold, silver and other precious and semi-precious metals and gem stones used in our jewelry, could have a material adverse effect on cost of sales or our ability to meet customer demands. The prices of fabrics, precious and semi-precious metals and gemstones depend largely on the market prices of the raw materials used to produce them. The price and availability of the raw materials and, in turn, the fabrics, precious and semi-precious metals and gem stones used in our apparel and jewelry may fluctuate significantly, depending on many factors, including crop yields, weather patterns, labor costs and changes in oil prices. We may not be able to create suitable design

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solutions that utilize raw materials with attractive prices or, alternatively, to pass higher raw materials prices and related transportation costs on to our customers. We are not always successful in our efforts to protect our business from the volatility of the market price of raw materials, and our business can be materially affected by dramatic movements in prices of raw materials. The ultimate effect of this change on our earnings cannot be quantified, as the effect of movements in raw materials prices on industry selling prices are uncertain, but any significant increase in these prices could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.

Our reliance on independent manufacturers could cause delays or quality issues which could damage customer relationships.

We use approximately eight independent manufacturers to assemble or produce all of our products. We are dependent on the ability of these independent manufacturers to adequately finance the production of goods ordered and maintain sufficient manufacturing capacity. The use of independent manufacturers to produce finished goods and the resulting lack of direct control could subject us to difficulty in obtaining timely delivery of products of acceptable quality. We generally do not have long-term written agreements with any independent manufacturers. As a result, any single manufacturing contractor could unilaterally terminate its relationship with us at any time. Supply disruptions from these manufacturers (or any of our other manufacturers) could have a material adverse effect on our ability to meet customer demands, if we are unable to source suitable replacement materials at acceptable prices or at all. Moreover, alternative manufacturers, if available, may not be able to provide us with products or services of a comparable quality, at an acceptable price or on a timely basis. We may also, from time to time, make a decision to enter into a relationship with a new manufacturer. Identifying a suitable supplier is an involved process that requires us to become satisfied with their quality control, responsiveness and service, financial stability and labor and other ethical practices. There can be no assurance that there will not be a disruption in the supply of our products from independent manufacturers or that any new manufacturer will be successful in producing our products in a manner we expected. The failure of any independent manufacturer to perform or the loss of any independent manufacturer could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

If our independent manufacturers fail to use ethical business practices and comply with applicable laws and regulations, our brand image could be harmed due to negative publicity.

We have established and currently maintain operating guidelines which promote ethical business practices such as fair wage practices, compliance with child labor laws and other local laws. While we monitor compliance with those guidelines, we do not control our independent manufacturers or their business practices. Accordingly, we cannot guarantee their compliance with our guidelines. A lack of demonstrated compliance could lead us to seek alternative suppliers, which could increase our costs and result in delayed delivery of our products, product shortages or other disruptions of our operations.

Violation of labor or other laws by our independent manufacturers or the divergence of an independent manufacturer’s labor or other practices from those generally accepted as ethical in the U.S. or other markets in which we do business could also attract negative publicity for us and our brand. From time to time, our audit results have revealed a lack of compliance in certain respects, including with respect to local labor, safety and environmental laws. Other fashion companies have faced criticism after highly-publicized incidents or compliance issues have occurred or been exposed at factories producing their products. To the extent our manufacturers do not bring their operations into compliance with such laws or resolve material issues identified in any of our audit results, we may face similar criticism and negative publicity. This could diminish the value of our brand image and reduce demand for our merchandise. In addition, other fashion companies have encountered organized boycotts of their products in such situations. If we, or other companies in our industry, encounter similar problems in the future, it could harm our brand image, stock price and results of operations.

Monitoring compliance by independent manufacturers is complicated by the fact that expectations of ethical business practices continually evolve, may be substantially more demanding than applicable legal requirements and are driven in part by legal developments and by diverse groups active in publicizing and organizing public responses to perceived ethical shortcomings. Accordingly, we cannot predict how such expectations might develop in the future and cannot be certain that our guidelines would satisfy all parties who are active in monitoring and publicizing perceived shortcomings in labor and other business practices worldwide.

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If we are unable to identify and successfully acquire additional trademarks, our growth may be limited and, even if additional trademarks are acquired, we may not realize anticipated benefits due to integration or licensing difficulties.

While we are focused on growing our existing brands, we intend to selectively seek to acquire additional intellectual property. However, as our competitors continue to pursue a brand management model, acquisitions may become more expensive and suitable acquisition candidates could become more difficult to find. In addition, even if we successfully acquire additional intellectual property or the rights to use additional intellectual property, we may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability levels that justify our investment in, or realize planned benefits with respect to, those additional brands.

Although we will seek to temper our acquisition risks by following acquisition guidelines relating to purchase price and valuation, projected returns, existing strength of the brand, its diversification benefits to us, its potential licensing scale and creditworthiness of licensee base, acquisitions, whether they be of additional intellectual property assets or of the companies that own them, entail numerous risks, any of which could detrimentally affect our reputation, our results of operations, and/or the value of our common stock. These risks include, among others:

unanticipated costs associated with the target acquisition or its integration with our company;
our ability to identify or consummate additional quality business opportunities, including potential licenses and new product lines and markets;
negative effects on reported results of operations from acquisition related charges and costs, and amortization of acquired intangibles;
diversion of management’s attention from other business concerns;
the challenges of maintaining focus on, and continuing to execute, core strategies and business plans as our brand and license portfolio grows and becomes more diversified;
adverse effects on existing licensing and other relationships;
potential difficulties associated with the retention of key employees, and difficulties, delays and unanticipated costs associated with the assimilation of personnel, operations, systems and cultures, which may be retained by us in connection with or as a result of our acquisitions;
risks of entering new domestic and international markets (whether it be with respect to new licensed product categories or new licensed product distribution channels) or markets in which we have limited prior experience; and
increased concentration in our revenues with one or more customers in the event that the brand has distribution channels in which we currently distribute products under one or more of our brands.

When we acquire intellectual property assets or the companies that own them, our due diligence reviews are subject to inherent uncertainties and may not reveal all potential risks. We may therefore fail to discover or inaccurately assess undisclosed or contingent liabilities, including liabilities for which we may have responsibility as a successor to the seller or the target company. As a successor, we may be responsible for any past or continuing violations of law by the seller or the target company. Although we will generally attempt to seek contractual protections through representations, warranties and indemnities, we cannot be sure that we will obtain such provisions in our acquisitions or that such provisions will fully protect us from all unknown, contingent or other liabilities or costs. Finally, claims against us relating to any acquisition may necessitate our seeking claims against the seller for which the seller may not, or may not be able to, indemnify us or that may exceed the scope, duration or amount of the seller’s indemnification obligations.

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Acquiring additional intellectual property could also have a significant effect on our financial position and could cause substantial fluctuations in our quarterly and yearly operating results. Acquisitions could result in the recording of significant goodwill and intangible assets on our financial statements, the amortization or impairment of which would reduce our reported earnings in subsequent years. No assurance can be given with respect to the timing, likelihood or financial or business effect of any possible transaction. Moreover, our ability to grow through the acquisition of additional intellectual property will also depend on the availability of capital to complete the necessary acquisition arrangements. In the event that we are unable to obtain debt financing on acceptable terms for a particular acquisition, we may elect to pursue the acquisition through the issuance by us of shares of our common stock (and, in certain cases, convertible securities) as equity consideration, which could dilute our common stock and reduce our earnings per share, and any such dilution could reduce the market price of our common stock unless and until we were able to achieve revenue growth or cost savings and other business economies sufficient to offset the effect of such an issuance. Acquisitions of additional brands may also involve challenges related to integration into our existing operations, merging diverse cultures, and retaining key employees. Any failure to integrate additional brands successfully in the future may adversely impact our reputation and business.

As a result, there is no guarantee that our stockholders will achieve greater returns as a result of any future acquisitions we complete.

Our failure to protect our proprietary rights could compromise our competitive position and decrease the value of our brands.

We own, through our wholly owned subsidiaries, various U.S. federal trademark registrations and foreign trademark registrations for our brands, together with pending applications for registration, which are vital to the success and further growth of our business and which we believe have significant value. We rely primarily upon a combination of trademarks, copyrights, and contractual restrictions to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights domestically and internationally. We believe that such measures afford only limited protection and, accordingly, there can be no assurance that the actions taken by us to establish, protect, and enforce our trademarks and other proprietary rights will prevent infringement of our intellectual property rights by others, or prevent the loss of licensing revenue or other damages caused therefrom.

For instance, despite our efforts to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights, unauthorized parties may attempt to copy aspects of our intellectual property, which could harm the reputation of our brands, decrease their value, and/or cause a decline in our licensees’ sales and thus our revenues. Further, we and our licensees may not be able to detect infringement of our intellectual property rights quickly or at all, and at times, we or our licensees may not be successful in combating counterfeit, infringing, or knockoff products, thereby damaging our competitive position. In addition, we depend upon the laws of the countries where our licensees’ products are sold to protect our intellectual property. Intellectual property rights may be unavailable or limited in some countries because standards of registration and ownership vary internationally. Consequently, in certain foreign jurisdictions, we have elected or may elect not to apply for trademark registrations. Also, in certain jurisdictions, as described above, certain H by Halston and H Halston trademark registrations or applications that we acquired (including but not limited to those based upon “intent to use”) may not yet be recorded in our name, due to laws governing the timing and nature of certain trademark assignments. Where laws limit our ability to record in our name trademarks that we have purchased, we have obtained by way of license all necessary rights to operate our business.

While we generally apply for trademarks in most countries where we license or intend to license our trademarks, we may not accurately predict all of the countries where trademark protection will ultimately be desirable. If we fail to timely file a trademark application in any such country, we may be precluded from obtaining a trademark registration in such country at a later date. Failure to adequately pursue and enforce our trademark rights could damage our brands, enable others to compete with our brands and impair our ability to compete effectively.

In addition, in the future, we may be required to assert infringement claims against third parties or more third parties may assert infringement claims against us. Any resulting litigation or proceeding could result in significant expense to us and divert the efforts of our management personnel, whether or not such litigation or proceeding is determined in our favor. To the extent that any of our trademarks were ever deemed to violate the proprietary rights of others in any litigation or

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proceeding or as a result of any claim, we may be prevented from using them, which could cause a termination of our contractual arrangements, and thus our revenue stream, with respect to those trademarks. Litigation could also result in a judgment or monetary damages being levied against us.

We are dependent upon our Chief Executive Officer and other key executives. If we lose the services of these individuals we may not be able to fully implement our business plan and future growth strategy, which would harm our business and prospects.

Our success is largely dependent upon the efforts of Robert W. D’Loren, our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of our board of directors. Our continued success is largely dependent upon his continued efforts and those of our other key executives. Although we entered into an employment agreement with Mr. D’Loren, as well as employment agreements with other executives and key employees, including Isaac Mizrahi, such persons can terminate their employment with us at their option, and there is no guarantee that we will not lose the services of our executive officers or key employees. To the extent that any of their services become unavailable to us, we will be required to hire other qualified executives, and we may not be successful in finding or hiring adequate replacements. This could impede our ability to fully implement our business plan and future growth strategy, which would harm our business and prospects. In addition, Bank Hapoalim B.M. requires that Robert W. D’Loren is the Chairman of the board of directors of the Company. The failure of Mr. D’Loren to continue in his duties as Chairman of our board of directors would result in a default under the credit facility with Bank Hapoalim B.M.

Our trademarks and other intangible assets are subject to impairment charges under accounting guidelines.

Intangible assets including our trademarks represent a substantial portion of our assets. Under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”), indefinite lived intangible assets, including our trademarks, are not amortized, but must be tested for impairment annually or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate the asset may be impaired. The estimated useful life of an intangible asset must be evaluated each reporting period to determine whether events and circumstances continue to support an indefinite useful life. Finite lived intangible assets are amortized over their estimated useful lives. Non-renewal of license agreements or other factors affecting our market segments or brands could result in significantly reduced revenue for a brand, which could result in a devaluation of the affected trademark. If such devaluations of our trademarks were to occur, a material impairment in the carrying value of one or more of our trademarks could also occur and be charged as a non-cash expense to our operating results, which could be material. For the year ended December 31, 2019, we recorded a $6.2 million impairment charge related to the Ripka Brand trademarks, driven by the timing of the continued transition from a licensing model to a wholesale and direct-to-consumer model. For the year ended December 31, 2020, we recorded a $13.0 million impairment charge related to the Ripka Brand trademarks, driven by delays and uncertainty in implementing the brick-and-mortar retail store strategy for a portion of the brand, primarily as a result of the novel coronavirus disease pandemic. Any further write-down of intangible assets resulting from future periodic evaluations would, as applicable, either decrease our net income or increase our net loss and those decreases or increases could be material.

Changes in effective tax rates or adverse outcomes resulting from examination of our income or other tax returns could adversely affect our results.

Our future effective tax rates could be adversely affected by changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities, or by changes in tax laws or by a change in allocation of state and local jurisdictions, or interpretations thereof. The Company currently files U.S. federal tax returns and various state tax returns. Tax years that remain open for assessment for federal and state purposes include years ended December 31, 2017 through December 31, 2020. We regularly assess the likelihood of recovering the amount of deferred tax assets recorded on the balance sheet and the likelihood of adverse outcomes resulting from examinations by various taxing authorities in order to determine the adequacy of our provision for income taxes. Although under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Federal tax rates are lower, certain expenses will be either reduced or eliminated, causing the Company to have increased taxable income, which may have an adverse effect on our future income tax obligations. We cannot guarantee that the outcomes of these evaluations and continuous examinations will not harm our reported operating results and financial condition.

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We must successfully maintain and/or upgrade our information technology systems.

We rely on various information technology systems to manage our operations, which subject us to inherent costs and risks associated with maintaining, upgrading, replacing, and changing these systems, including impairment of our information technology, potential disruption of our internal control systems, substantial capital expenditures, demands on management time, cyber security breaches and other risks of delays or difficulties in upgrading, transitioning to new systems, or of integrating new systems into our current systems.

A decline in general economic conditions resulting in a decrease in consumer spending levels and an inability to access capital may adversely affect our business.

The success of our operations depends on consumer spending. Consumer spending is impacted by a number of factors which are beyond our control, including actual and perceived economic conditions affecting disposable consumer income (such as unemployment, wages, energy costs and consumer debt levels), customer traffic within shopping and selling environments, business conditions, interest rates and availability of credit and tax rates in the general economy and in the international, regional and local markets in which our products are sold and the impact of natural disasters and pandemics and disease outbreaks such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Global economic conditions historically included significant recessionary pressures and declines in employment levels, disposable income and actual and/or perceived wealth and further declines in consumer confidence and economic growth. A depressed economic environment is often characterized by a decline in consumer discretionary spending and has disproportionately affected retailers and sellers of consumer goods, particularly those whose goods are viewed as discretionary or luxury purchases, including fashion apparel and accessories such as ours. Such factors as well as another shift towards recessionary conditions have in the past, and could in the future, devalue our brands, which could result in an impairment in its carrying value, which could be material, create downward pricing pressure on the products carrying our brands, and adversely impact our sales volumes and overall profitability. Further, economic and political volatility and declines in the value of foreign currencies could negatively impact the global economy as a whole and have a material adverse effect on the profitability and liquidity of our operations, as well as hinder our ability to grow through expansion in the international markets. In addition, domestic and international political situations also affect consumer confidence, including the threat, outbreak or escalation of terrorism, military conflicts or other hostilities around the world. Furthermore, changes in the credit and capital markets, including market disruptions, limited liquidity, and interest rate fluctuations, may increase the cost of financing or restrict our access to potential sources of capital for future acquisitions.

The risks associated with our business are more acute during periods of economic slowdown or recession. Accordingly, any prolonged economic slowdown or a lengthy or severe recession with respect to either the U.S. or the global economy is likely to have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and business prospects.

System security risk issues as well as other major system failures could disrupt our internal operations or information technology services, and any such disruption could negatively impact our net sales, increase our expenses and harm our reputation.

Experienced computer programmers and hackers, and even internal users, may be able to penetrate our network security and misappropriate our confidential information or that of third parties, including our customers, enter into or facilitate fraudulent transactions, create system disruptions or cause shutdowns. In addition, employee error, malfeasance or other errors in the storage, use or transmission of any such information could result in a disclosure to third parties outside of our network. As a result, we could incur significant expenses addressing problems created by any such inadvertent disclosure or any security breaches of our network. In addition, we rely on third parties for the operation of our websites, and for the various social media tools and websites we use as part of our marketing strategy.

Consumers are increasingly concerned over the security of personal information transmitted over the internet, consumer identity theft and user privacy, and any compromise of customer information could subject us to customer or government litigation and harm our reputation, which could adversely affect our business and growth. Moreover, we could incur significant expenses or disruptions of our operations in connection with system failures or breaches. In addition, sophisticated hardware and operating system software and applications that we procure from third parties may contain defects in design or manufacture, including “bugs” and other problems that could unexpectedly interfere with the operation

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of our systems. The costs to us to eliminate or alleviate security problems, viruses and bugs, or any problems associated with our newly transitioned systems or outsourced services could be significant, and the efforts to address these problems could result in interruptions, delays or cessation of service that may impede our sales, distribution or other critical functions. In addition to taking the necessary precautions ourselves, we require that third-party service providers implement reasonable security measures to protect our customers’ identity and privacy as well as credit card information. We do not, however, control these third-party service providers and cannot guarantee that no electronic or physical computer break-ins and security breaches will occur in the future. We could also incur significant costs in complying with the multitude of state, federal and foreign laws, including the European Union’s general data protection regulations to be effective in May 2018, regarding the use and unauthorized disclosure of personal information, to the extent they are applicable. In the case of a disaster affecting our information technology systems, we may experience delays in recovery of data, inability to perform vital corporate functions, tardiness in required reporting and compliance, failures to adequately support our operations and other breakdowns in normal communication and operating procedures that could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

Changes in laws could make conducting our business more expensive or otherwise change the way we do business.

We are subject to numerous domestic and international regulations, including labor and employment, customs, truth-in-advertising, consumer protection, data protection, and zoning and occupancy laws and ordinances that regulate retailers generally or govern the importation, promotion and sale of merchandise and the operation of stores and warehouse facilities. If these regulations were to change or were violated by our management, employees, vendors, independent manufacturers or partners, the costs of certain goods could increase, or we could experience delays in shipments of our products, be subject to fines or penalties, or suffer reputational harm, which could reduce demand for our merchandise and hurt our business and results of operations.

In addition to increased regulatory compliance requirements, changes in laws could make ordinary conduct of business more expensive or require us to change the way we do business. Laws related to employee benefits and treatment of employees, including laws related to limitations on employee hours, supervisory status, leaves of absence, mandated health benefits, overtime pay, unemployment tax rates and citizenship requirements, could negatively impact us, by increasing compensation and benefits costs, which would in turn reduce our profitability.

Moreover, changes in product safety or other consumer protection laws could lead to increased costs to us for certain merchandise, or additional labor costs associated with readying merchandise for sale. It is often difficult for us to plan and prepare for potential changes to applicable laws and future actions or payments related to such changes could be material to us.

Risks Related to an Investment in Our Securities

If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control, we may not be able to report our financial results accurately or in a timely fashion, and we may not be able to prevent fraud. In such case, our stockholders could lose confidence in our financial reporting, which would harm our business and could negatively impact the price of our stock.

Pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, we are required to include in our Annual Report on Form 10-K our assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. We have dedicated a significant amount of time and resources to ensure compliance with this legislation for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, and will continue to do so for future fiscal periods. We cannot be certain that future material changes to our internal control over financial reporting will be effective. If we cannot adequately maintain the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, we may be subject to sanctions or investigation by regulatory authorities, such as the SEC. Any such action could adversely affect our financial results and the market price of our common stock. Moreover, if we discover a material weakness, the disclosure of that fact, even if quickly remedied, could reduce the market’s confidence in our financial statements and harm our stock price.

Our independent registered public accounting firm will not be required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting until we are no longer a “smaller reporting company.” At such time that an attestation is required, our independent registered public accounting firm may issue a report that is adverse or qualified in the event that they are

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not satisfied with the level at which our controls are documented, designed or operating. Our remediation efforts may not enable us to avoid a material weakness or significant deficiency in the future.

Management exercises significant control over matters requiring shareholder approval, which may result in the delay or prevention of a change in our control.

Pursuant to a voting agreement, IM Ready-Made, LLC, Isaac Mizrahi, and Marisa Gardini agreed to appoint a person designated by our board of directors as their collective irrevocable proxy and attorney-in-fact with respect to the shares of the common stock received by them. The proxy holder will vote in favor of matters recommended or approved by the board of directors. The board of directors has designated Robert W. D’Loren as proxy. Also, pursuant to separate voting agreements, each of Judith Ripka and the H Company IP, LLC and certain other parties have agreed to appoint Mr. D’Loren as their respective irrevocable proxy and attorney-in-fact with respect to the shares of the common stock issued to them by us. The proxy holder shall vote in favor of matters recommended or approved by the board of directors.

The combined voting power of the common stock ownership of our officers, directors, and key employees is approximately 60% of our voting securities as of March 26, 2021. As a result, our management and key employees through such stock ownership will exercise significant influence over all matters requiring shareholder approval, including the election of our directors and approval of significant corporate transactions. This concentration of ownership in management and key employees may also have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control of us that may be otherwise viewed as beneficial by stockholders other than management. There is also a risk that our existing management and a limited number of stockholders may have interests which are different from certain stockholders and that they will pursue an agenda which is beneficial to themselves at the expense of other stockholders.

There are limitations on the liabilities of our directors and executive officers. Under certain circumstances, we are obligated to indemnify our directors and executive officers against liability and expenses incurred by them in their service to us.

Pursuant to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and under Delaware law, our directors are not liable to us or our stockholders for monetary damages for breach of fiduciary duty, except for liability for breach of a director’s duty of loyalty, acts or omissions by a director not in good faith or which involve intentional misconduct or a knowing violation of law, dividend payments or stock repurchases that are unlawful under Delaware law or any transaction in which a director has derived an improper personal benefit. In addition, we have entered into indemnification agreements with each of our directors and executive officers. These agreements, among other things, require us to indemnify each director and executive officer for certain expenses, including attorneys’ fees, judgments, fines and settlement amounts, incurred by any such person in any action or proceeding, including any action by us or in our right, arising out of the person’s services as one of our directors or executive officers. The costs associated with providing indemnification under these agreements could be harmful to our business and have an adverse effect on results of operations.

Our common stock is currently thinly traded, and you may be unable to sell at or near ask prices or at all if you need to sell or liquidate a substantial number of shares at one time.

Although our common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Market, our common stock is currently traded at relatively low volumes. As a result, the number of persons interested in purchasing our common stock at or near bid prices at any given time may be relatively small. This situation is attributable to a number of factors, including that we are currently a small company which is still relatively unknown to securities analysts, stock brokers, institutional investors and others in the investment community that generate or influence sales volume, and that even if we came to the attention of such persons, they tend to be risk-averse and reluctant to follow an unproven company such as ours or purchase or recommend the purchase of our shares until such time as we become more seasoned and viable. As a consequence, there may be periods of several days or more when trading activity in our shares is minimal, as compared to a seasoned issuer which has a large and steady volume of trading activity that will generally support continuous sales without an adverse effect on share price. We cannot provide any assurance that a broader or more active public trading market for our common stock will develop or be sustained, or that trading levels will be sustained.

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The market price of our common stock has declined over the past three years and may be volatile, which could reduce the market price of our common stock.

Currently the publicly traded shares of our common stock are not widely held, and do not have significant trading volume, and, therefore, may experience significant price and volume fluctuations. Although our common stock is quoted on the NASDAQ Global Market, this does not assure that a meaningful, consistent trading market will develop or that the volatility will decline. This market volatility could reduce the market price of the common stock, regardless of our operating performance. In addition, the trading price of the common stock has been volatile over the past few years and could change significantly over short periods of time in response to actual or anticipated variations in our quarterly operating results, announcements by us, our licensees or our respective competitors, factors affecting our licensees’ markets generally and/or changes in national or regional economic conditions, making it more difficult for shares of the common stock to be sold at a favorable price or at all. The market price of the common stock could also be reduced by general market price declines or market volatility in the future or future declines or volatility in the prices of stocks for companies in the trademark licensing business or companies in the industries in which our licensees compete.

Our common stock may be subject to the penny stock rules adopted by the SEC that require brokers to provide extensive disclosure to their customers prior to executing trades in penny stocks. These disclosure requirements may cause a reduction in the trading activity of our common stock, which could make it more difficult for our stockholders to sell their securities.

Rule 3a51-1 of the Exchange Act establishes the definition of a “penny stock,” for purposes relevant to us, as any equity security that has a minimum bid price of less than $5.00 per share or with an exercise price of less than $5.00 per share, subject to a limited number of exceptions, including for having securities registered on certain national securities exchanges. If our common stock were delisted from the NASDAQ, market liquidity for our common stock could be severely and adversely affected.

For any transaction involving a penny stock, unless exempt, the penny stock rules require that a broker or dealer approve a person’s account for transactions in penny stocks and the broker or dealer receive from the investor a written agreement to the transaction setting forth the identity and quantity of the penny stock to be purchased. In order to approve a person’s account for transactions in penny stocks, the broker or dealer must obtain financial information and investment experience and objectives of the person and make a reasonable determination that the transactions in penny stocks are suitable for that person and that that person has sufficient knowledge and experience in financial matters to be capable of evaluating the risks of transactions in penny stocks.

The broker or dealer must also deliver, prior to any transaction in a penny stock, a disclosure schedule prepared by the SEC relating to the penny stock market, which, in highlight form, sets forth:

the basis on which the broker or dealer made the suitability determination; and
that the broker or dealer received a signed, written agreement from the investor prior to the transaction.

Disclosure also has to be made about the risks of investing in penny stocks in both public offerings and in secondary trading and commission payable to both the broker-dealer and the registered representative, current quotations for the securities and the rights and remedies available to an investor in cases of fraud in penny stock transactions. Finally, monthly statements have to be sent disclosing recent price information for the penny stock held in the account and information on the limited market in penny stocks.

Because of these regulations, broker-dealers may not wish to engage in the above-referenced necessary paperwork and disclosures and/or may encounter difficulties in their attempt to sell shares of our common stock, which may affect the ability of selling stockholders or other holders to sell their shares in any secondary market and have the effect of reducing the level of trading activity in any secondary market. These additional sales practice and disclosure requirements could impede the sale of our common stock even if and when our common stock becomes listed on the NASDAQ Global Market. In addition, the liquidity for our common stock may decrease, with a corresponding decrease in the price of our common stock.

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Although our common stock closed at $2.25 per share on April 13, 2021, no assurance can be given that the per share price of our common stock will maintain such levels or that our stock will not be subject to these “penny stock” rules in the future.

Investors should be aware that, according to Commission Release No. 34-29093, the market for “penny stocks” has suffered in recent years from patterns of fraud and abuse. Such patterns include: (1) control of the market for the security by one or a few broker-dealers that are often related to the promoter or issuer; (2) manipulation of prices through prearranged matching of purchases and sales and false and misleading press releases; (3) boiler room practices involving high-pressure sales tactics and unrealistic price projections by inexperienced sales persons; (4) excessive and undisclosed bid-ask differential and markups by selling broker-dealers; and (5) the wholesale dumping of the same securities by promoters and broker-dealers after prices have been manipulated to a desired level, along with the resulting inevitable collapse of those prices and with consequent investor losses. The occurrence of these patterns or practices could increase the future volatility of our share price.

We may issue a substantial number of shares of common stock upon exercise of outstanding warrants and options and to satisfy obligations to the H Company IP, LLC (the “Halston Heritage Earn-Out”) if certain conditions, including royalty revenue targets, are met.

As of December 31, 2020, we had outstanding warrants and options to purchase 7,759,190 shares of our common stock. The holders of warrants and options will likely exercise such securities at a time when the market price of our common stock exceeds the exercise price. Therefore, exercises of warrants and options will result in a decrease in the net tangible book value per share of our common stock and such decrease could be material.

The issuance of shares to satisfy such obligations and upon exercise of outstanding warrants and options will dilute our then-existing stockholders’ percentage ownership of our company, and such dilution could be substantial. In addition, our growth strategy includes the acquisition of additional brands, and we may issue shares of our common stock as consideration for acquisitions. Sales or the potential for sale of a substantial number of such shares could adversely affect the market price of our common stock, particularly if our common stock remains thinly traded at such time.

As of December 31, 2020, we had an aggregate of 1,549,598 shares of common stock available for grants under our Amended and Restated 2011 Equity Incentive Plan (the "Plan") to our directors, executive officers, employees, and consultants. Issuances of common stock pursuant to the exercise of stock options or other stock grants or awards which may be granted under our Plan will dilute your interest in us.

We do not anticipate paying cash dividends on our common stock.

You should not rely on an investment in our common stock to provide dividend income, as we have not paid dividends on our common stock, and we do not plan to pay any dividends in the foreseeable future. Instead, we plan to retain any earnings to maintain and expand our existing licensing operations, further develop our trademarks, and finance the acquisition of additional trademarks. Accordingly, investors must rely on sales of their common stock after price appreciation, which may never occur, as the only way to realize any return on their investment. In addition, our credit facility with Bank Hapoalim B.M. limits the amount of cash dividends we may pay while amounts under the credit facility are outstanding.

Provisions of our corporate charter documents could delay or prevent change of control.

Our certificate of incorporation authorizes our board of directors to issue up to 1,000,000 shares of preferred stock without stockholder approval, in one or more series, and to fix the dividend rights, terms, conversion rights, voting rights, redemption rights and terms, liquidation preferences, and any other rights, preferences, privileges, and restrictions applicable to each new series of preferred stock. The designation of preferred stock in the future could make it difficult for third parties to gain control of our company, prevent or substantially delay a change in control, discourage bids for the common stock at a premium, or otherwise adversely affect the market price of the common stock.

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Holders of our common stock may be subject to restrictions on the use of Rule 144 by shell companies or former shell companies.

Historically, the SEC has taken the position that Rule 144 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, is not available for the resale of securities initially issued by companies that are, or previously were, shell companies (we were considered a shell company on and prior to September 29, 2011), to their promoters or affiliates despite technical compliance with the requirements of Rule 144. The SEC prohibits the use of Rule 144 for resale of securities issued by shell companies (other than business transaction related shell companies) or issuers that have been at any time previously a shell company. The SEC has provided an important exception to this prohibition, however, if the following conditions are met: the issuer of the securities that was formerly a shell company has ceased to be a shell company; the issuer of the securities is subject to the reporting requirements of Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act; the issuer of the securities has filed all Exchange Act reports and material required to be filed, as applicable, during the preceding 12 months (or such shorter period that the issuer was required to file such reports and materials), other than Form 8-K reports; and at least one year has elapsed from the time that the issuer filed current Form 10 type information with the SEC reflecting its status as an entity that is not a shell company. As such, due to the fact that we had been a shell company prior to September 2011, holders of “restricted securities” within the meaning of Rule 144, when reselling their shares pursuant to Rule 144, shall be subject to the conditions set forth herein.

Item 2.      Properties

We currently lease and maintain our corporate offices and operations facility located at 1333 Broadway, 10th floor, New York, New York. We entered into a lease agreement on July 8, 2015 for such offices of approximately 29,600 square feet of office space. This lease commenced on March 1, 2016 and shall expire on October 30, 2027.

We also lease approximately 18,500 square feet of office space at 475 Tenth Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, New York. This location represents our former corporate offices and operations facility, which we relocated to our current location described above in June 2016. This lease shall expire on February 28, 2022. We are currently subleasing this office space to a third-party subtenant through February 27, 2022.

We also lease approximately 1,300 square feet of retail space for a planned future retail store location in Westchester, New York.

Item 3.      Legal Proceedings

In the ordinary course of business, from time to time we become involved in legal claims and litigation. In the opinion of management, based on consultations with legal counsel, the disposition of litigation currently pending against us is unlikely to have, individually or in the aggregate, a materially adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations, or cash flows.

Item 4.       Mine Safety Disclosures

None.

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PART II

Item 5.Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Market Information

Our common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Market, under the trading symbol “XELB.”

The table below sets forth the range of quarterly high and low sales prices for our common stock in 2020 and 2019:

December 31, 2020

    

High

    

Low

First Quarter

$

1.60

$

0.40

Second Quarter

$

1.70

$

0.50

Third Quarter

$

1.04

$

0.65

Fourth Quarter

$

1.32

$

0.74

December 31, 2019

 

  

 

  

First Quarter

$

1.80

$

1.18

Second Quarter

$

1.70

$

1.19

Third Quarter

$

3.50

$

1.52

Fourth Quarter

$

1.82

$

1.33

Holders

As of December 31, 2020, the number of our stockholders of record was 578 (excluding beneficial owners and any shares held in street name or by nominees).

Dividends

We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock. In addition, our credit facility with Bank Hapoalim B.M. limits the amount of cash dividends we may pay while amounts under the credit facility are outstanding. Furthermore, we expect to retain future earnings to finance our operations and expansion. The payment of cash dividends in the future will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon our earnings levels, capital requirements, any restrictive loan covenants, and other factors the board of directors considers relevant.

Securities authorized for issuance under equity compensation plans

2011 Equity Incentive Plan

Our Amended and Restated 2011 Equity Incentive Plan, which we refer to as the Plan, is designed and utilized to enable the Company to offer its employees, officers, directors, consultants, and others whose past, present, and/or potential contributions to the Company have been, are, or will be important to the success of the Company, an opportunity to acquire a proprietary interest in the Company. The following is a description of the Plan, as amended.

The Plan provides for the grant of stock options or restricted stock (any grant under the Plan, an “Award”). The stock options may be incentive stock options or non-qualified stock options.
A total of 13,000,000 shares of common stock are eligible for issuance under the Plan, and the maximum number of shares of common stock with respect to which incentive stock options may be granted under the Plan is 5,000,000.

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The Plan may be administered by the Board of Directors (the “Board”) or a committee consisting of two or more members of the Board of Directors appointed by the Board (for purposes of this description, any such committee, a “Committee”).
Officers and other employees of our Company or any parent or subsidiary of our Company who are at the time of the grant of an Award employed by us or any parent or subsidiary of our Company are eligible to be granted options or other Awards under the Plan. In addition, non-qualified stock options and other Awards may be granted under the Plan to any person, including, but not limited to, directors, independent agents, consultants and attorneys who the Board or the Committee, as the case may be, believes has contributed or will contribute to our success.
With respect to incentive stock options granted to an eligible employee owning stock possessing more than 10% of the total combined voting power of all classes of our stock or the stock of a parent or subsidiary of our Company immediately before the grant (each, a “10% Stockholder”), such incentive stock option shall not be exercisable more than 5 years from the date of grant.
The exercise price of an incentive stock option will not be less than the fair market value of the shares underlying the option on the date the option is granted, provided, however, that the exercise price of an incentive stock option granted to a 10% Stockholder may not be less than 110% of such fair market value.
The exercise price of a non-qualified stock option may not be less than fair market value of the shares of common stock underlying the option on the date the option is granted.
Under the Plan, we may not, in the aggregate, grant incentive stock options that are first exercisable by any individual optionee during any calendar year (under all such plans of the optionee’s employer corporation and its “parent” and “subsidiary” corporations, as those terms are defined in Section 424 of the Internal Revenue Code) to the extent that the aggregate fair market value of the underlying stock (determined at the time the option is granted) exceeds $100,000.
Restricted stock awards give the recipient the right to receive a specified number of shares of common stock, subject to such terms, conditions and restrictions as the Board or the Committee, as the case may be, deems appropriate. Restrictions may include limitations on the right to transfer the stock until the expiration of a specified period of time and forfeiture of the stock upon the occurrence of certain events such as the termination of employment prior to expiration of a specified period of time.
Certain Awards made under the Plan may be granted so that they qualify as “performance-based compensation” (as this term is used in Internal Revenue Code Section 162(m) and the regulations thereunder) and are exempt from the deduction limitation imposed by Code Section 162(m) (these Awards are referred to as “Performance-Based Awards”). Under Internal Revenue Code Section 162(m), our tax deduction may be limited to the extent total compensation paid to the chief executive officer, or any of the four most highly compensated executive officers (other than the chief executive officer) exceeds $1 million in any one tax year. In accordance with the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the tax deductibility for each of these executives will be limited to $1,000,000 of compensation annually, including any performance-based compensation. Among other criteria, Awards only qualify as performance-based awards if at the time of grant the compensation committee is comprised solely of two or more “outside directors” (as this term is used in Internal Revenue Code Section 162(m) and the regulations thereunder). In addition, we must obtain stockholder approval of material terms of performance goals for such “performance-based compensation.”
All stock options and certain stock awards, performance awards, and stock units granted under the Plan, and the compensation attributable to such Awards, are intended to (i) qualify as performance-based awards or (ii) be otherwise exempt from the deduction limitation imposed by Internal Revenue Code Section 162(m).
No options or other Awards may be granted on or after the tenth anniversary of the effective date of the Plan.

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From time to time, the Company issues stock-based compensation to its officers, directors, employees, and consultants. The maximum term of options granted is generally 10 years and generally options vest over a period of six months to four years. However, the Board may approve other vesting schedules. Options may be exercised in whole or in part. The exercise price of stock options granted is generally the fair market value of the Company’s common stock as determined by the Board on the date of grant, considering factors such as the sale of stock, results of operations, and consideration of the fair value of comparable private companies in the industry.

The fair value of each stock option award is estimated using the Black-Scholes option pricing model based on certain assumptions. The assumption for expected term is based on evaluations of expected future employee exercise behavior. Because of a lack of historical information, we use the simplified method to determine the expected term. The risk-free interest rate is based on the U.S. Treasury rates at the date of grant with maturity dates approximately equal to the expected term at the grant date. The historical volatility of comparable companies’ stock is used as the basis for the volatility assumption. The Company has never paid cash dividends, and does not currently intend to pay cash dividends, and thus assumes a 0% dividend yield.

The following table sets forth information as of December 31, 2020 regarding compensation plans under which our equity securities are authorized for issuance:

Number of Securities

Number of Securities

Remaining Available for

to be Issued Upon

Weighted Average

Future Issuance Under

Exercise of

Exercise Price of

Equity Compensation Plans

Outstanding Options,

Outstanding Options,

(Excluding Securities

Warrants and Rights

Warrants and Rights

Reflected in Column (a))

Plan Category

    

(a)

    

(b)

    

(c)

Equity compensation Plans (1)

7,759,190

$

3.25

1,549,598


(1)   Pursuant to our 2011 Equity Incentive Plan.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

There were no sales of unregistered or registered securities during the years ended December 2020 and 2019.

Purchases of equity securities by the issuer and affiliated purchasers

The following table provides information with respect to common stock repurchased by us during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019:

    

    

    

Total Number of Shares

of Common Stock

Total Number of

Purchased as

Shares of

Average

Part of a Publicly

Common Stock

Price per

Announced

Period

Purchased

Share

Plan or Program

March 1, 2020 to March 31, 2020 (i)

 

155,556

$

0.65

 

May 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020 (i)

 

87,249

 

0.98

 

December 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 (i)

 

2,478

 

1.14

 

Total year ended December 31, 2020

 

245,283

$

0.77

 

September 1, 2019 to September 30, 2019 (i)

 

18,147

$

1.34

 

October 1, 2019 to October 31, 2019 (i)

 

29,189

 

1.75

 

November 1, 2019 to November 30, 2019 (i)

 

57,980

 

1.45

 

December 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019 (i)

 

9,846

 

1.45

 

Total year ended December 31, 2019

 

115,162

$

1.51

 


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(i)The shares were exchanged from employees and directors in connection with the income tax withholding obligations on behalf of such employees and directors from the vesting of restricted stock.

Item 6.Selected Financial Data

Smaller reporting companies are not required to provide the information required by this Item 6.

Item 7.Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The following discussion and analysis should be read together with our consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto, included in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This discussion summarizes the significant factors affecting our consolidated operating results, financial condition and liquidity and cash flows for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019. Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties and are based upon judgments concerning factors that are beyond our control.

Overview

Xcel Brands is a media and consumer products company engaged in the design, production, marketing, wholesale and direct-to-consumer sales of branded apparel, footwear, accessories, fine jewelry, home goods and other consumer products, and the acquisition of dynamic consumer lifestyle brands. The Company’s brands have generated over $3 billion in retail sales via live streaming in interactive television and digital channels alone.

Xcel was founded in 2011 with a vision to reimagine shopping, entertainment, and social media as one thing. Xcel owns the Isaac Mizrahi, Halston, Judith Ripka, C Wonder, and Longaberger brands, pioneering a ubiquitous sales strategy which includes the promotion and sale of products under its brands through interactive television, digital live-stream shopping, brick-and-mortar retail,wholesale and e-commerce channels.

To grow our brands, we are focused on the following primary strategies:

expanding and leveraging our live-streaming platform. We recently launched our live-streaming platform through our Longaberger brand technology platform with the goal to build the world’s largest digital marketplace powered by live-streaming and micro-influencers for home and other related products, designed to create a better lifestyle. We plan to leverage this technology across our other brands.
wholesale distribution of our brands to retailers that sell to the end consumer;
wholesale sales and/or licensing our brands for sale through interactive television (i.e., QVC, HSN, The Shopping Channel, TVSN, etc.);
licensing our brands to manufacturers and retailers for promotion and distribution through e-commerce, social commerce, and traditional brick-and-mortar retail channels whereby we provide certain design services;
distribution of our brands through e-commerce directly to the end consumer; and
acquiring additional consumer brands and integrating them into our operating platform and leveraging our operating infrastructure and distribution relationships.

We believe that we offer a unique value proposition to our retail and direct-to-consumer customers, and our licensees for the following reasons:

our management team, including our officers’ and directors’ experience in, and relationships within, the industry;

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our deep knowledge and expertise in live-streaming sales;
our design, production, sales, marketing, and supply chain and integrated technology platform enables us to design, market, and distribute trend-right product; and
our operating strategy, significant media and internet presence and distribution network.

Our vision is intended to reimagine shopping, entertainment, and social media as one thing. By leveraging live streaming, digital, and social media content across all distribution channels, we seek to drive consumer engagement and generate retail sales across our brands. Our strong relationships with leading retailers, interactive television companies, and streaming networks enable us to reach consumers in over 380 million homes worldwide and hundreds of millions of social media followers.

We believe our design, production, and supply chain platform provides significant competitive advantages compared with traditional wholesale consumer products companies that design, manufacture, and distribute products. We focus on our core competencies of live streaming, marking, design, integrated technologies, production and supply chain platform, and brand development. We believe that we offer a 360-degree solution to our retail partners that addresses many of the challenges facing the retail industry today. We believe our platform is highly scalable. Additionally, we believe we can acquire additional brands into our platform in order to leverage our operating infrastructure, marketing capabilities, and distribution network.

Summary of Critical Accounting Policies

The preparation of consolidated financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Critical accounting policies are those that are the most important to the portrayal of our financial condition and results of operations, and that require our most difficult, subjective, and complex judgments as a result of the need to make estimates about the effect of matters that are inherently uncertain. While our significant accounting policies are described in more detail in the notes to our consolidated financial statements, our most critical accounting policies, discussed below, pertain to revenue recognition, trademarks and other intangible assets, stock-based compensation, fair value of contingent obligations, and income taxes. In applying such policies, we must use some amounts that are based upon our informed judgments and best estimates. Estimates, by their nature, are based upon judgments and available information. The estimates that we make are based upon historical factors, current circumstances, and the experience and judgment of management. We evaluate our assumptions and estimates on an ongoing basis.

Revenue Recognition

Licensing

In connection with our licensing model, we follow Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 606-10-55-65, by which we recognize revenue at the later of when (1) the subsequent sale or usage occurs or (2) the performance obligation to which some or all of the sales- or usage-based royalty has been allocated is satisfied (in whole or in part). More specifically, we separately identify:

(i)   Contracts for which, based on experience, royalties are expected to exceed any applicable minimum guaranteed payments, and to which an output-based measure of progress based on the “right to invoice” practical expedient is applied because the royalties due for each period correlate directly with the value to the customer of our performance in each period (this approach is identified as “View A” by the FASB Revenue Recognition Transition Resource Group, “TRG”); and

(ii)   Contracts for which revenue is recognized based on minimum guaranteed payments using an appropriate measure of progress, in which minimum guaranteed payments are straight-lined over the term of the contract and recognized ratably based on the passage of time, and to which the royalty recognition constraint to the sales-based

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royalties in excess of minimum guaranteed is applied and such sales-based royalties are recognized to distinct period only when the minimum guaranteed is exceeded on a cumulative basis (this approach is identified as “View C” by the TRG).

Wholesale Sales

We generate revenue through sale of branded jewelry and apparel to both domestic and international customers who, in turn, sell the products to their consumers. We recognize revenue when performance obligations identified under the terms of contracts with our customers are satisfied, which occurs upon the transfer of control of the merchandise in accordance with the contractual terms and conditions of the sale.

Direct to Consumer Sales

Our revenue associated with our e-commerce jewelry operations and the Longaberger brand is recognized at a point in time when product is shipped to the customer.

Trademarks and Other Intangible Assets

We follow ASC Topic 350, “Intangibles - Goodwill and Other.” Under this standard, goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets are not amortized, but are required to be assessed for impairment at least annually. Our finite-lived intangible assets are amortized over their estimated useful lives.

We perform our annual quantitative analysis of indefinite-lived intangible assets as of December 31 each year. As a result of performing our annual impairment testing of indefinite-lived intangible assets for the year ended December 31, 2019, we recorded a $6.2 million impairment charge related to the Ripka Brand trademarks, driven by the timing of the continued transition from a licensing model to a wholesale and direct-to-consumer model.

Effective January 1, 2020, we determined that the Ripka Brand, inclusive of all its trademarks, has a finite life of 15 years, and began to amortize these trademarks on a straight-line basis accordingly. During the year ended December 31, 2020, delays and uncertainty in implementing the brick-and-mortar retail store strategy for a portion of the Ripka Brand, primarily as a result of the novel coronavirus disease pandemic, indicated that the carrying value of the Ripka Brand trademarks may not be recoverable. Therefore, we performed an impairment test of finite-lived intangible assets, and as a result, recorded a $13.0 million impairment charge related to the Ripka Brand trademarks.

No other impairment charges were recorded for intangible assets for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.

Indefinite-Lived Intangibles

The Company tests its indefinite-lived intangible assets for recovery in accordance with ASC 820-10-55-3F, which states that the income approach (“Income Approach”) converts future amounts (for example, cash flows) into a single current (that is, discounted) amount. When the Income Approach is used, fair value measurement reflects current market expectations about those future amounts. The Income Approach is based on the present value of future earnings expected to be generated by a business or asset. Income projections for a future period are discounted at a rate commensurate with the degree of risk associated with future proceeds. A residual or terminal value is also added to the present value of the income to quantify the value of the business beyond the projection period. As such, recoverability of such assets is measured by a comparison of the carrying amount of the asset to its expected future discounted net cash flows. If the carrying amount of such assets is considered to be impaired, the impairment to be recognized is measured as the amount by which the carrying amount of the assets exceeds the recoverability of the assets.

Finite-Lived Intangibles

The Company’s finite-lived intangible assets, including Trademarks, are reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that their carrying value may not be recoverable. An impairment loss is recognized if the carrying amount of a finite-lived intangible asset is not recoverable and its carrying amount exceeds its fair value.

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With reference to our finite-lived intangible assets’ impairment process, the Company groups assets and liabilities at the lowest level for which identifiable cash flows are largely independent of the cash flows of other assets and liabilities and evaluate the asset group against the sum of undiscounted future cash flows. If the undiscounted cash flows do not indicate the carrying amount of the asset is recoverable, an impairment charge is measured as the amount by which the carrying amount of the asset group exceeds its fair value based on discounted cash flows analysis or appraisals.

Leases

We determine if an arrangement is a lease at inception. At commencement of a lease, we recognize an operating lease right-of-use (“ROU”) asset, representing our right to use the underlying leased asset for the lease term, and a lease liability, representing our obligation to make future lease payments, based on the present value of the remaining lease payments over the lease term. As most of our leases do not provide an implicit rate, we use our incremental borrowing rate based on the information available at commencement date in determining the present value of lease payments. We may use the implicit rate when readily determinable. Operating lease ROU assets also include scheduled lease payments made and initial direct costs, and exclude lease incentives and accrued rent. Lease terms may include options to extend or terminate the lease when it is reasonably certain that we will exercise that option. Lease expense for operating lease payments related to office leases is generally recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term. Lease expense for operating lease payments related to retail leases is generally recognized on a straight-line basis over the period of operation, as this is representative of the pattern in which benefit is derived from the lease.

For real estate leases, we account for the lease and non-lease components as a single lease component. Variable lease payments that do not depend on an index or rate (such as real estate taxes and building insurance and lessee’s shares thereof), if any, are excluded from lease payments at lease commencement date for initial measurement. Subsequent to initial measurement, these variable payments are recognized when the event determining the amount of variable consideration to be paid occurs.

For leases with a term of 12 months or less, we do not recognize lease liabilities and ROU assets, but recognize the lease payments in net income on a straight-line basis over the respective lease terms.

We recognize income from subleases (in which we are the sublessor) on a straight-line basis over the term of the sublease, as a reduction to lease expense.

Income Taxes

Income tax expense is the tax payable for the period and the change during the period in deferred tax assets and liabilities. Deferred income taxes are determined based on the temporary difference between the financial reporting and tax bases of assets and liabilities using enacted rates in effect during the year in which the differences are expected to reverse. Valuation allowances are established when necessary to reduce deferred tax assets to the amount expected to be realized. ASC Topic 740, “Accounting for Income Taxes” clarifies the accounting for uncertainty in income taxes recognized in an enterprise’s financial statements. Tax positions shall initially be recognized in the financial statements when it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained upon examination by the tax authorities. Such tax positions shall initially and subsequently be measured as the largest amount of tax benefit that has a probability of fifty percent or greater of being realized upon ultimate settlement with the tax authority, assuming full knowledge of the position and all relevant facts. Tax years that remain open for assessment for federal and state tax purposes include the years ended December 31, 2017 through December 31, 2020.

Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements

In December 2019, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) No. 2019-12, “Income Taxes (Topic 740): Simplifying the Accounting for Income Taxes.” This ASU removes certain exceptions to the general principles in Topic 740, including, but not limited to, intraperiod tax allocations and interim period tax calculations. The ASU also provides additional clarification and guidance related to recognition of franchise taxes and changes in tax laws. This guidance is effective for public companies for fiscal years, and interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after December 15,

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2020, with early adoption permitted. The adoption of this new guidance in 2021 will not have any significant impact on our results of operations, cash flows, and financial condition.

In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-13, "Financial Instruments – Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments," which was subsequently amended in November 2018 through ASU No. 2018-19. This ASU will require entities to estimate lifetime expected credit losses for financial instruments, including trade and other receivables, which will result in earlier recognition of credit losses. In November 2019, the FASB issued ASU No. 2019-10, which, among other things, deferred the application of the new guidance on credit losses for smaller reporting companies to fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2022, including interim periods within those fiscal years. We are currently evaluating the new guidance to determine the impact the adoption of this guidance will have on our results of operations, cash flows, and financial condition.

Recently Adopted Accounting Pronouncements

We adopted ASU No. 2018‑13, “Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820): Disclosure Framework – Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Fair Value Measurement,” effective January 1, 2020. This ASU adds, modifies, and removes several disclosure requirements relative to the three levels of inputs used to measure fair value in accordance with Topic 820, “Fair Value Measurement.” The adoption of this new guidance did not have any impact on our results of operations, cash flows, and financial condition.

We adopted ASU No. 2016-02, “Leases,” effective January 1, 2019, by applying the new guidance under the additional and alternative transition method allowed by ASU No. 2018-11, “Leases (Topic 842): Targeted Improvements.” As of January 1, 2019, the adoption resulted in the recognition of operating lease right-of-use assets of approximately $10.4 million, lease liabilities of approximately $13.2 million, and a decrease of approximately $2.8 million in accrued rent. The adoption of the new lease accounting guidance did not have an impact on our consolidated statement of operations, and had no impact on cash provided by or used in operating, financing, or investing activities in our consolidated statement of cash flows. We elected the available practical expedients under ASC 842-10-15-37 (thereby not separating lease components from non-lease components and instead accounting for all components as a single lease component) and ASC 842-10-65-1 (thereby, among other things, not reassessing lease classification), and implemented changes to our processes and methodologies related to leases to enable the preparation of financial information upon adoption and to allow for the correct identification, classification, and measurement of leases in accordance with the new guidance going forward.

Summary of Operating Results

The consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Form 10-K are as of or for the year ended December 31, 2020 (the “Current Year”), and the year ended December 31, 2019 (the “Prior Year”).

Revenues

Current Year net revenue decreased approximately $12.3 million to $29.4 million from $41.7 million for the Prior Year.

Net licensing revenue decreased by $6.2 million in the Current Year to approximately $20.2 million, compared with $26.4 million in the Prior Year. This decline was primarily driven by a combination of (i) lower customer sales by our licensees as a result of government-ordered retail store closures as well as an overall slowdown in economic activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic, (ii) a $3.0 million reduction in guaranteed minimum revenues from one of our existing licensing arrangements upon renewal effective January 1, 2020, and (iii) a $1.7 million reduction in revenues from another one of our existing licensing arrangements changing from guaranteed minimum amounts to sales-based royalties effective April 1, 2019.

Net product sales decreased by approximately $6.1 million in the Current Year to $9.2 million, compared with approximately $15.3 million in the Prior Year. The decline in net product sales was primarily driven by lower sales as a result of government-ordered retail store closures as well as an overall slowdown in economic activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic following the outbreak of the pandemic, partially offset by volume growth in our apparel wholesale business in the first quarter of 2020.

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Cost of Goods Sold

Current Year cost of goods sold was $5.5 million, compared with $10.3 million for the Prior Year. This decrease was due to lower overall volume of wholesale and e-commerce sales in the Current Year. Gross profit (net revenue less cost of goods sold) decreased approximately $7.4 million to $24.1 million from $31.5 million in the Prior Year, primarily driven by the aforementioned decline in net licensing revenue.

Gross profit margin from product sales increased from 33% in the Prior Year to 41% in the Current Year as a result of achieving greater efficiencies in our wholesale business operations. Total gross profit margin was 75% in the Prior Year and 81% in the Current Year; this increase was the result of the aforementioned increase in gross profit margins for product sales as well as the proportional shift of revenue mix towards licensing revenues in the Current Year.

Operating Costs and Expenses

Operating costs and expenses increased approximately $3.5 million from $36.9 million in the Prior Year to $40.4 million in the Current Year.

This increase was primarily due to a $13.0 million non-cash impairment charge recorded in the Current Year related to the Ripka Brand trademarks, driven by delays and uncertainty in implementing the brick-and-mortar retail store strategy for a portion of the brand, primarily as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with a similar $6.2 million non-cash impairment charge recorded in the Prior Year related to the Ripka Brand trademarks, which was driven by the timing of the transition from a licensing model to a wholesale and direct-to-consumer model. Also contributing to the increase was a $1.6 million increase in depreciation and amortization expense, primarily due to the change in estimated life for the Judith Ripka trademarks as of January 1, 2020, and $1.0 million of bad debt expense recognized in the Current Year related to the bankruptcy of several retail customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These increases in operating costs and expenses were partially offset by various cost reduction actions taken by management during the Current Year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including temporary reductions of employee compensation from April to December of 2020 and cutting non-essential costs, as well as government assistance received through the Paycheck Protection Program under the CARES Act, for which the Company recognized $1.8 million as a reduction to Current Year operating costs and expenses. Additionally, there were $1.3 million of costs incurred in the Prior Year in connection with a potential acquisition, which ultimately was not consummated; approximately $0.2 million of these costs were recovered or reimbursed in the Current Year.

Other Income

During the Current Year, we recognized a $0.05 million net gain on the sale of certain assets related to the Longaberger brand.

During the Prior Year, we recognized a $2.85 million gain on the reduction of contingent obligations related to the 2015 acquisition of the C Wonder Brand. As part of that acquisition, the seller was eligible to earn additional consideration based on future royalties related to the C Wonder Brand exceeding certain thresholds, and we recorded a liability for the potential future payment of such consideration. The final earn-out period ended on June 30, 2019, and the seller ultimately did not earn any additional consideration under the terms of the purchase agreement.

Interest and Finance Expense

Interest and finance expense for the Current Year was $1.2 million, compared with $1.5 million for the Prior Year. This decrease is primarily attributable to the fact that the Prior Year includes a $0.2 million loss on extinguishment of debt as a result of the February 11, 2019 term loan amendment, with no such comparable extinguishment loss in the current Year. The remainder of the decrease is largely due to a lower outstanding principal balance on our term loan resulting from regular debt service payments.

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Income Tax (Benefit) Provision

The effective income tax rate for the Current Year was approximately 25.9% resulting in a $4.5 million income tax benefit. During the Current Year, the effective tax rate was impacted by the vesting of restricted shares of common stock. The excess tax deficiencies were treated as a discrete item in the determination of the tax provision as required by ASU 2016-09, “Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting,” decreasing the effective rate by approximately 1.9%. The effective tax rate was also impacted by recurring permanent differences, which, based on the amount of income before income taxes compared to the permanent differences, increased the effective rate in 2020 by approximately 4.0%. The largest such recurring permanent differences were state and local tax provisions, which increased the effective rate in 2020 by approximately 4.5%, and disallowed excess compensation, which decreased the effective rate in 2020 by approximately 0.5%. Also impacting the effective rate for 2020 was the addback impact of the Paycheck Protection Program, which increased the effective rate by approximately 2.2%.

The effective income tax rate for the Prior Year was approximately 15.8% resulting in a $0.6 million income tax benefit. During the Prior Year, the effective tax rate was impacted by the vesting of restricted shares of common stock. The excess tax deficiencies were treated as a discrete item in the determination of the tax provision as required by ASU 2016-09, “Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting,” decreasing the effective rate by approximately 7.0%. The effective tax rate was also impacted by recurring permanent differences, which, based on the amount of income before income taxes compared to the permanent differences, increased the effective rate in 2019 by approximately 1.8%. The largest such recurring permanent differences were state and local tax provisions, which increased the effective rate in 2019 by approximately 7.4%, and was largely offset by the effect of disallowed excess compensation, which decreased the effective rate in 2019 by approximately 5.1%.

Net Loss

We had a net loss of approximately $13.1 million for the Current Year, compared with a net loss of approximately $3.4 million for the Prior Year, as a result of the factors discussed above.

Non-GAAP Net Income, Non-GAAP Diluted EPS and Adjusted EBITDA

We had non-GAAP net income of $1.8 million or $0.10 per share (“non-GAAP diluted EPS”) based on 19,152,569 weighted average shares outstanding for the Current Year, compared with non-GAAP net income of $4.8 million, or $0.25 per share based on 18,858,379 weighted average shares outstanding for the Prior Year. Non-GAAP net income is a non-GAAP unaudited term, which we define as net income (loss) attributable to Xcel Brands, Inc. stockholders, exclusive of amortization of trademarks, stock-based compensation, non-cash interest and finance expense from discounted debt related to acquired assets, loss on extinguishment of debt, gain on sales of assets, gain on reduction of contingent obligations, costs (recoveries) in connection with potential acquisitions, certain adjustments to allowances for doubtful accounts related to debtors that have filed for bankruptcy protection triggered by the impact of COVID-19, asset impairments, and deferred income taxes. Non-GAAP net income and non-GAAP diluted EPS measures do not include the tax effect of the aforementioned adjusting items, due to the nature of these items and the Company’s tax strategy.

We had Adjusted EBITDA of $4.1 million for the Current Year, compared with Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $7.1 million for the Prior Year. Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP unaudited measure, which we define as net income (loss) attributable to Xcel Brands, Inc. stockholders before depreciation and amortization, interest and finance expenses (including loss on extinguishment of debt, if any), income taxes, other state and local franchise taxes, stock-based compensation, gain on reduction of contingent obligations, gain on sale of assets, costs (recoveries) in connection with potential acquisitions, asset impairments, and certain adjustments to allowances for doubtful accounts related to debtors that have filed for bankruptcy protection triggered by the impact of COVID-19.

Management uses non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP diluted EPS, and Adjusted EBITDA as measures of operating performance to assist in comparing performance from period to period on a consistent basis and to identify business trends relating to the Company’s results of operations. Management believes non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP diluted EPS, and Adjusted EBITDA are also useful because these measures adjust for certain costs and other events that management believes are not representative of our core business operating results, and thus these non-GAAP measures provide

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supplemental information to assist investors in evaluating the Company’s financial results. The Company has incurred certain costs which it could have eliminated but elected not to do so in light of government assistance received through the Paycheck Protection Program under the CARES Act (the “PPP Benefit”), which represents a cash benefit directly related to the Company’s operating expenses incurred. Accordingly, the PPP Benefit is not considered a reconciling item for purposes of the computation of non-GAAP net income and Adjusted EBITDA. Adjusted EBITDA is the measure used to calculate compliance with the EBITDA covenant under our term loan agreement with BHI.

Non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP diluted EPS, and Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered in isolation or as alternatives to net income, earnings per share, or any other measure of financial performance calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP. Given that non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP diluted EPS, and Adjusted EBITDA are financial measures not deemed to be in accordance with GAAP and are susceptible to varying calculations, our non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP diluted EPS, and Adjusted EBITDA may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies, including companies in our industry, because other companies may calculate these measures in a different manner than we do.

In evaluating non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP diluted EPS, and Adjusted EBITDA, you should be aware that in the future we may or may not incur expenses similar to some of the adjustments in this report. Our presentation of non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP diluted EPS, and Adjusted EBITDA does not imply that our future results will be unaffected by these expenses or any unusual or non-recurring items. When evaluating our performance, you should consider non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP diluted EPS, and Adjusted EBITDA alongside other financial performance measures, including our net income and other GAAP results, and not rely on any single financial measure.

The following table is a reconciliation of net loss (our most directly comparable financial measure presented in accordance with GAAP) to non-GAAP net income:

 

Year Ended December 31, 

($ in thousands)

 

2020

    

2019

Net loss attributable to Xcel Brands, Inc. stockholders

$

(12,936)

$

(3,426)

Intangible asset impairments

13,000

6,200

Amortization of trademarks

 

4,432

 

3,105

Non-cash interest and finance expense

 

 

16

Stock-based compensation

 

850

 

976

Loss on extinguishment of debt

189

(Recovery of) costs in connection with potential acquisition

(158)

1,290

Certain adjustments to allowances for doubtful accounts

971

Property and equipment impairment

113

Gain on sale of assets

(46)

Gain on reduction of contingent obligation

(2,850)

Deferred income tax benefit

 

(4,382)

 

(705)

Non-GAAP net income

$

1,844

$

4,795

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The following table is a reconciliation of diluted (loss) earnings per share to non-GAAP diluted EPS:

Year Ended December 31, 

    

2020

    

2019

Diluted loss per share attributable to Xcel Brands, Inc. stockholders

$

(0.68)

$

(0.18)

Intangible asset impairments

0.68

0.33

Amortization of trademarks

 

0.23

 

0.16

Non-cash interest and finance expense

 

 

0.00

Stock-based compensation

 

0.04

 

0.05

Loss on extinguishment of debt

0.01

(Recovery of) costs in connection with potential acquisitions

(0.01)

0.07

Certain adjustments to allowances for doubtful accounts

0.05

Property and equipment impairment

0.01

Gain on sale of assets

0.00

Gain on reduction of contingent obligation

(0.15)

Deferred income tax (benefit) provision

 

(0.22)

 

(0.04)

Non-GAAP diluted EPS

$

0.10

$

0.25

Diluted weighted average shares outstanding

 

19,152,569

 

18,858,379

The following table is a reconciliation of basic weighted average shares outstanding to non-GAAP diluted weighted average shares outstanding:

Year Ended December 31, 

    

2020

    

2019

Basic weighted average shares

19,117,460

18,857,657

Effect of exercising warrants

490

722

Effect of exercising stock options

34,619

Non-GAAP diluted weighted average shares outstanding

19,152,569

18,858,379

The following table is a reconciliation of net loss (our most directly comparable financial measure presented in accordance with GAAP) to Adjusted EBITDA:

Year Ended December 31, 

($ in thousands)

    

2020

    

2019

Net loss attributable to Xcel Brands, Inc. stockholders

$

(12,936)

$

(3,426)

Intangible asset impairments

 

13,000

 

6,200

Depreciation and amortization

 

5,497

 

3,902

Interest and finance expense

 

1,193

 

1,474

Income tax benefit

 

(4,518)

 

(642)

State and local franchise taxes

 

145

 

197

Stock-based compensation

 

850

 

976

(Recovery of) costs in connection with potential acquisition

(158)

1,290

Certain adjustments to allowances for doubtful accounts

971

Property and equipment impairment

113

Gain on sale of assets

(46)

Gain on reduction of contingent obligation

 

 

(2,850)

Adjusted EBITDA

$

4,111

$

7,121

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Liquidity and Capital Resources

General

As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, our cash and cash equivalents were $5.0 million and $4.6 million, respectively. Restricted cash at December 31, 2020 and 2019 consisted of $1.1 million of cash deposited with Bank Hapoalim B.M. (“BHI”) as collateral for an irrevocable standby letter of credit associated with the lease of our current corporate office and operating facility.

Our principal capital requirements have been to fund working capital needs, acquire new brands, and to a lesser extent, capital expenditures. Notwithstanding our recent investments in our ERP system, our business operating model generally does not require material capital expenditures, and as of December 31, 2020, we have no significant commitments for future capital expenditures. Material cash requirements from known contractual and other obligations are discussed under “Obligations and Commitments” below.

We expect that existing cash and operating cash flows will be adequate to meet our operating needs, term debt service obligations, and capital expenditure needs, for at least the twelve months subsequent to the filing date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We believe that cash from future operations, including growth opportunities and future business development, as well as currently available cash, will be sufficient to satisfy our anticipated long-term operating needs, including our debt service requirements and making necessary investments in our infrastructure and technology, for the foreseeable future beyond the next twelve months.

Changes in Working Capital

Our working capital (current assets less current liabilities, excluding the current portion of lease obligations and any contingent liabilities payable in common stock) was $7.9 million and $9.5 million as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. This decrease in working capital was primarily due to lower accounts receivable at December 31, 2020 as a result of the combination of lower sales during the Current Year and increased allowances for doubtful accounts. Commentary on components of our cash flows for the Current Year compared with the Prior Year is set forth below. Working capital as of December 31, 2020 included $8.9 million of accounts receivable; substantially all of this balance was collected subsequent to year-end.

Operating Activities

Net cash provided by operating activities was approximately $3.2 million and $3.5 million in the Current Year and Prior Year, respectively.

The Current Year’s cash provided by operating activities was primarily attributable to the combination of the net loss of $(13.1) million plus non-cash expenses of approximately $16.2 million, and a net change in operating assets and liabilities of approximately $0.1 million. The net loss of $(13.1) million includes $1.8 million of government assistance received through the PPP under the CARES Act, which was recognized as a reduction to Current Year expenses for which the program was intended to compensate. Non-cash net expenses were primarily comprised of a $13.0 million intangible asset impairment charge, $5.5 million of depreciation and amortization, $1.0 million of bad debt expense, $0.9 million of stock-based compensation, and $(4.4) million of deferred income tax benefit. The net change in operating assets and liabilities includes a decrease in accounts receivable of $0.7 million, an increase in inventory of $(0.3) million, a decrease in prepaid expenses and other assets of $0.6 million, and a decrease in accounts payable, accrued expenses and other current liabilities of $(0.5) million, all of which are primarily due to timing of collections and payments, and cash paid in excess of rent expense of $(0.4) million.

The Prior Year’s cash provided by operating activities was primarily attributable to the combination of the net loss of $(3.4) million plus non-cash expenses of approximately $7.8 million, partially offset by a net change in operating assets and liabilities of approximately $(0.9) million. Non-cash net expenses mainly consisted of a $6.2 million intangible asset impairment charge, $3.9 million of depreciation and amortization, $1.0 million of stock-based compensation, $(0.7)  million of deferred income tax benefit, $(2.9) million of gain on reduction of contingent obligations, and $0.2 million of

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loss on extinguishment of debt. The net change in operating assets and liabilities includes a decrease in accounts receivable of $0.4 million, a decrease in inventory of $1.1 million, and a decrease in accounts payable, accrued expenses and other current liabilities of $(1.7) million, all of which are primarily due to timing of collections and payments, and cash paid in excess of rent expense of $(0.4) million.

Investing Activities

Net cash used in investing activities for the Current Year was approximately $0.7 million, compared with $10.3 million in the Prior Year. Cash used in investing activities for the Current Year was primarily attributable to capital expenditures, a substantial portion of which relates to the implementation of our ERP system. Cash used in investing activities in the Prior Year was primarily related to $8.8 million in cash consideration paid to acquire the Halston Heritage Brands, as well as capital expenditures of $1.1 million predominantly related to implementation of our ERP system.

Financing Activities

Net cash used in financing activities for the Current Year was approximately $(2.2) million, and was primarily attributable to payments made on long-term debt obligations of $(2.3) million, cash contributions received from the non-controlling interest holder in Longaberger Licensing, LLC of $0.3 million, and $(0.2) million of shares repurchased related to vested restricted stock in exchange for withholding taxes.

Net cash provided by financing activities for the Prior Year was approximately $2.3 million, and was primarily attributable to proceeds received from long-term debt of $7.5 million, partially offset by payments made on our senior term debt obligation of $(4.0) million, the final payment on the IM Seller Note obligation of $(0.7) million, and payment of $(0.3) million of deferred finance costs.

Obligations and Commitments

Term Loan Debt

On February 26, 2016, the Company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, IM Brands, LLC, JR Licensing, LLC, H Licensing, LLC, C Wonder Licensing, LLC, Xcel Design Group, LLC, IMNY Retail Management, LLC, and IMNY E-Store, USA, LLC (each a “Guarantor” and collectively, the “Guarantors”), as Guarantors, entered into an amended and restated loan and security agreement with Bank Hapoalim B.M. as agent, and the financial institutions party thereto as lenders.

On February 11, 2019, concurrent with the Closing Date of the acquisition of the Halston Heritage Brands (see Note 3 to the notes to financial statements), the Company entered into an amended loan agreement with BHI (the “Loan Agreement”), which amended and restated the prior term loan. Immediately prior to February 11, 2019, the aggregate principal amount of the prior term loan was $14.5 million. Pursuant to the Loan Agreement, the Lenders have extended to Xcel an additional term loan in the amount of $7.5 million, such that, as of February 11, 2019, the aggregate outstanding balance of all the term loans extended by BHI to Xcel was $22.0 million, which amount has been divided under the Loan Agreement into two term loans: (1) a term loan in the amount of $7.3 million (“Term Loan A”) and (2) a term loan in the amount of $14.7 million (“Term Loan B” and, together with Term Loan A, the “Term Loans”). The proceeds of the additional term loan were used to finance the Halston Heritage Brands acquisition.

The terms and conditions of the Loan Agreement resulted in significantly different debt service payment requirements, compared with the prior term loan, including an increase of $7.5 million in the principal balance, and related changes to the timing and amount of principal payments, as well as changes in the interest rate. Management assessed and determined that this amendment resulted in an extinguishment of debt and recognized a loss of $0.2 million (consisting of unamortized deferred finance costs) during the year ended December 31, 2019.

The Loan Agreement also allows that BHI and any other lender party to the Loan Agreement (collectively, the “Lenders”) can provide to Xcel a revolving loan facility and a letter of credit facility, the terms of each of which shall be agreed to by Xcel and the Lenders. Amounts advanced under the revolving loan facility (the “Revolving Loans”) will be used for the purpose of consummating acquisitions by Xcel or its subsidiaries that are or become parties to the Loan Agreement. Xcel

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will have the right to convert Revolving Loans to incremental term loans (the “Incremental Term Loans”) in minimum amounts of $5.0 million. The Company has not drawn down any funds under either the revolving loan facility or letter of credit facility.

On April 13, 2020, the Company and BHI amended the Loan Agreement. Under this amendment, the quarterly installment payment due March 31, 2020 was deferred, and the amounts of the quarterly installment payments due throughout the remainder of 2020 were reduced, while the amount of principal to be repaid through variable payments based on excess cash flow was increased. In addition, there were multiple changes and waivers to the various financial covenants. Further, this amendment permitted Xcel to incur unsecured debt through the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), and excludes any associated PPP debt and debt service from the covenant calculations. There were no changes to the total principal balance, interest rate, or maturity date.

On August 18, 2020, the Company and BHI further amended the Loan Agreement. Under this amendment, the amounts of the quarterly installment payments due throughout 2021 were reduced, and the amount of principal to be repaid through variable payments based on excess cash flow was increased. In addition, there were multiple changes and waivers to the various financial covenants. There were no changes to the total principal balance, interest rate, or maturity date.

The Term Loans mature on December 31, 2023, Incremental Term Loans shall mature on the date set forth in the applicable term note, and Revolving Loans and the letter of credit facility shall mature on such date as agreed upon by Xcel and the Lenders. Any letter of credit issued under Loan Agreement shall terminate no later than one year following the date of issuance thereof.

The remaining principal balance of the Term Loans, as amended, outstanding at December 31, 2020 is payable in fixed installments as set forth in the following table, plus the variable payments as described below:

($ in thousands)

Installment Payment Dates

    

Amount

March 31, 2021, June 30, 2021, September 30, 2021, and December 31, 2021

$

700

March 31, 2022, June 30, 2022, September 30, 2022, and December 31, 2022

$

1,125

March 31, 2023, June 30, 2023, September 30, 2023, and December 31, 2023

$

1,250

In addition to the fixed installments outlined above, commencing with the fiscal quarter ending March 31, 2021, the Company is required to repay a portion of the Term Loans in an amount equal to 50% of the excess cash flow for the fiscal quarter, provided that no early termination fee shall be payable with respect to any such payment. Excess cash flow means, for any period, cash flow from operations (before certain permitted distributions) less (i) capital expenditures not made through the incurrence of indebtedness, (ii) all cash principal paid or payable during such period, and (iii) all dividends declared and paid (or which could have been declared and paid) during such period to equity holders of any credit party treated as a disregarded entity for tax purposes. To the extent that the cumulative amount of such variable repayments made is less than $4.45 million as of March 31, 2022, any such shortfall must be repaid at that date.

Thus, the aggregate remaining annual principal payments under the Term Loans at December 31, 2020 were as follows:

Amount of

($ in thousands)

 

Principal

Year Ending December 31, 

    

Payment

2021

$

2,800

2022

 

8,950

2023

 

5,000

Total

$

16,750

Xcel has the right to prepay the Term Loans, Incremental Term Loans, Revolving Loans, and obligations with respect to letters of credit and accrued and unpaid interest thereon and to terminate the Lenders’ obligations to make Revolving

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Loans and issue letters of credit; provided that any prepayment of less than all of the outstanding balances of the Term Loans and Incremental Term Loans shall be applied to the remaining amounts due in inverse order of maturity.

If any Term Loan or any Incremental Term Loan is prepaid on or prior to the third anniversary of the Closing Date (including as a result of an event of default), Xcel shall pay an early termination fee as follows: an amount equal to the principal amount of the Term Loan or Incremental Term Loan, as applicable, being prepaid, multiplied by: (i) two percent (2.00%) if any of Term Loan B or any Incremental Term Loan is prepaid on or before the second anniversary of the later of the Closing Date or the date such Incremental Term Loan was made, as applicable; (ii) one percent (1.00%) if any of Term Loan A is prepaid on or before the second anniversary of the Closing Date; (iii) one percent (1.00%) if any of Term Loan B or any Incremental Term Loan is prepaid after the second anniversary of the later of the Closing Date or such Incremental Term Loan was made, as applicable, but on or before the third anniversary of such date; (iv) one-half of one percent (0.50%) if any of Term Loan A is prepaid after the second anniversary of the Closing Date, but on or before the third anniversary of such date; or (v) zero percent (0.00%) if any Term Loan or any Incremental Term Loan is prepaid after the third anniversary of the later of the Closing Date or the date such Incremental Term Loan was made, as applicable.

Notwithstanding the above, Xcel may make a voluntary prepayment of up to $0.75 million without any early termination fees, and any such prepayment would be excluded from the computation of excess cash flows.

Xcel’s obligations under the Loan Agreement are guaranteed by and secured by all of the assets of Xcel and its wholly owned subsidiaries, as well as any subsidiary formed or acquired that becomes a credit party to the Loan Agreement (the “Guarantors”) and, subject to certain limitations contained in Term Loans, equity interests of the Guarantors. Xcel also granted the Lenders a right of first offer to finance any acquisition for which the consideration will be paid other than by cash of Xcel or by the issuance of equity interest of Xcel.

The Loan Agreement contains customary covenants, including reporting requirements, trademark preservation, and the following financial covenants of the Company (on a consolidated basis with the Guarantors under the Loan Agreement):

net worth of at least $90.0 million at the end of each fiscal quarter;
liquid assets of at least $3.0 million through December 31, 2020, at least $2.5 million for the fiscal quarters ending March 31, 2021 through September 30, 2021, at least $3.0 million for the fiscal quarter ending December 31, 2021, and at least $5.0 million thereafter;
the fixed charge coverage ratio for the twelve fiscal month period ending at the end of each fiscal quarter shall not be less than the ratio set forth below:

Fiscal Quarter End

    

Fixed Charge Coverage Ratio

December 31, 2020, March 31, 2021, June 30, 2021, September 30, 2021, and December 31, 2021

1.25 to 1.00

March 31, 2022, and thereafter

1.10 to 1.00

capital expenditures (excluding any capitalized compensation costs) shall not exceed $1.6 million for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2020, and $0.7 million for any fiscal year beginning after December 31, 2020; and
the leverage ratio for the twelve fiscal month period ending at the end of each fiscal period set forth below shall not exceed the ratio set forth below:

Fiscal Period

    

Maximum Leverage Ratio

December 31, 2020

3.50 to 1.00

March 31, 2021

3.15 to 1.00

June 30, 2021

3.00 to 1.00

September 30, 2021

2.75 to 1.00

December 31, 2021

2.50 to 1.00

March 31, 2022 and each Fiscal Quarter end thereafter

1.50 to 1.00

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The Company was in compliance with all applicable covenants under the Loan Agreement as of and for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.

In connection with the February 11, 2019 refinancing transaction and subsequent amendments, the Company incurred fees to or on behalf of BHI of approximately $0.3 million during the Prior Year and $0.03 million during the Current Year. These fees have been deferred on the consolidated balance sheets as a reduction to the carrying value of the Term Loans, and are being amortized to interest expense over the term of the Term Loans using the effective interest method. The effective interest rate on the Loan Agreement was approximately 6.6% and 6.7% for the Current Year and Prior Year, respectively.

Interest on Term Loan A accrues at a fixed rate of 5.1% per annum and is payable on each day on which the scheduled principal payments on Term Loans are required to be made. Interest on Term Loan B accrues at a fixed rate of 6.25% per annum and is payable on each day on which the scheduled principal payments on Term Loans are required to be made. Interest on the Revolving Loans will accrue at either the Base Rate or LIBOR, as elected by Xcel, plus a margin to be agreed to by Xcel and the Lenders and will be payable on the first day of each month. Base Rate is defined in the Loan Agreement as the greater of (a) BHI’s stated prime rate or (b) 2.00% per annum plus the overnight federal funds rate published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Interest on the Incremental Term Loans will accrue at rates to be agreed to by Xcel and the Lenders and will be payable on each day on which the scheduled principal payments under the applicable note are required to be made.

For the Current Year and Prior Year, the Company incurred interest expense of approximately $1.1 million and $1.2 million, respectively, related to term loan debt.

On April 14, 2021, we entered into a loan and security agreement with BHI, FEAC Agent LLC, and the financial institutions party thereto (the “2021 Loan Agreement”). We used a portion of the proceeds from the 2021 Loan Agreement to repay the $16.75 million outstanding balance under the previous Loan Agreement, resulting in the extinguishment of the term loan debt that existed as of December 31, 2020. Under 2021 Loan Agreement, the Company’s debt obligations increased to $25.0 million, payable in 16 equal quarterly installments of $625,000, commencing June 30, 2021 and ending on March 31, 2025, with a final payment of $15.0 million payable on the maturity date of April 14, 2025. The debt under the 2021 Loan Agreement bears interest at a weighted average rate of LIBOR plus 6.2% per annum. In addition, the 2021 Loan Agreement provides for up to $25 million of future acquisition financing, subject to lender approval on a deal-by-deal basis.

Contingent Obligations – HH Seller (Halston Heritage Earn-Out)

In connection with the February 11, 2019 purchase of the Halston Heritage Trademarks from HIP, the Company agreed to pay HIP additional consideration (the “Halston Heritage Earn-Out”) of up to $6.0 million, based on royalties earned through December 31, 2022. The Halston Heritage Earn-Out of $0.9 million is recorded as a long-term liability as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets, based on the difference between the fair value of the acquired assets of the Halston Heritage Trademarks and the total consideration paid. In accordance with ASC Topic 480, the Halston Heritage Earn-Out obligation is treated as a liability in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets because of the variable number of shares payable under the agreement.

The Halston Heritage Earn-Out is generally required to be paid in shares of our common stock, subject to certain limitations. Payment of this obligation in stock would not affect our liquidity.

Real Estate Leases

As described in Item 2 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we have real estate leases for our current office, former office, and a planned retail store location, with remaining lease terms between approximately one year to eight years. Future payments under these leases are expected to be approximately $2.7 million for the year ending December 31, 2021, $1.7 million for each year ending December 31, 2022 – 2025, and $3.3 million thereafter.

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Employment Contracts

We have entered into contracts with certain executives and key employees. The future minimum payments under these contracts are expected to be approximately $6.7 million, of which approximately $4.6 million is expected to be paid in 2021 and approximately $2.1 million is expected to be paid in 2022.

Other Factors

We continue to seek to expand and diversify the types of licensed products being produced under our brands. We plan to continue to diversify the distribution channels within which licensed products are sold, in an effort to reduce dependence on any particular retailer, consumer, or market sector within each of our brands. The Mizrahi brand, Halston brand, and C Wonder brand have a core business in fashion apparel and accessories. The Ripka brand is a fine jewelry business, and the Longaberger brand focuses on home good products, which we believe helps diversify our industry focus while at the same time complements our business operations and relationships.

We continue to work towards expanding our wholesale and e-commerce businesses, and complement these operations with our licensing business, including interactive television, and leveraging our wholesale customers with our brick-and-mortar licensees. Our current strategy is to manage our working capital needs by minimizing inventory risk.

In addition, we continue to seek new opportunities, including expansion through interactive television, our design, production and supply chain platform, additional domestic and international licensing arrangements, and acquiring additional brands. In November 2019, we acquired an ownership interest in the Longaberger brand through a joint venture, and launched the brand on the QVC channel that same month. We are also actively pursuing the potential acquisition of other brands and business operations which we believe are synergistic to our existing portfolio of brands and our operating platform, and are complementary to our overall strategy.

However, the impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic are broad reaching and are having an impact on our licensing and wholesale businesses. This global pandemic is impacting our supply chain, and temporary factory closures and the pace of workers returning to work have impacted our contract manufacturers’ ability to source certain raw materials and to produce finished goods in a timely manner. The pandemic is also impacting distribution and logistics providers' ability to operate in the normal course of business. In addition, COVID-19 has resulted in a sudden and continuing decrease in sales for many of our products, resulting in order cancellations. Further, the global pandemic has affected the financial health of certain of our customers, and the bankruptcy of certain other customers, including Lord & Taylor and Le Tote, Stein Mart, and Century 21, from which we had an aggregate of $1.21 million of accounts receivable due at December 31, 2020. As a result, we have recognized an allowance for doubtful accounts of $0.97 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, and may be required to make additional adjustments for doubtful accounts which would increase our operating expenses in future periods and negatively impact our operating results, and could result in our failure to meet financial covenants under our credit facility. Financial impacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic include, but are not limited to, lower net sales, adjustments to allowances for doubtful accounts due to customer bankruptcy or other inability to pay their amounts due to vendors, the delay of inventory production and fulfillment, potentially further impacting net sales, and potential incremental costs associated with mitigating the effects of the pandemic, including increased freight and logistics costs and other expenses. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to continue to have an adverse effect on our operating results, which could result in our inability to comply with certain debt covenants and require BHI to waive compliance with, or agree to amend, any such covenant to avoid a default. The COVID-19 global pandemic is ongoing, and its dynamic nature, including uncertainties relating to the severity and duration of the pandemic, as well as actions that would be taken by governmental authorities to contain the pandemic or to treat its impact, makes it difficult to forecast any effects on our 2021 results. However, as of the date of this filing, we expect our results for some portion of 2021 to be significantly affected.

Our success, however, will still remain largely dependent on our ability to build and maintain our brands’ awareness and continue to attract wholesale and direct-to-consumer customers, and contract with and retain key licensees, as well as our and our licensees’ ability to accurately predict upcoming fashion and design trends within their respective customer bases and fulfill the product requirements of the particular retail channels within the global marketplace. Unanticipated changes in consumer fashion preferences and purchasing patterns, slowdowns in the U.S. economy, changes in the prices of

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supplies, consolidation of retail establishments, and other factors noted in “Risk Factors” could adversely affect our licensees’ ability to meet and/or exceed their contractual commitments to us and thereby adversely affect our future operating results.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

We do not have any off-balance sheet arrangements that have or are reasonably likely to have a current or future material effect on our financial condition, results of operations or liquidity.

Item 7A.Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

Not applicable.

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Item 8.      Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

To the Board of Directors and

Stockholders of Xcel Brands, Inc. and Subsidiaries

Opinion on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Xcel Brands, Inc. and Subsidiaries (the “Company”) as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, and the related consolidated statements of operations, stockholders’ equity, and cash flows for the years then ended, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the years then ended, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

Basis for Opinion

These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) ("PCAOB") and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audits we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the entity’s internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.

Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Critical Audit Matters

The critical audit matters communicated below are matters arising from the current period audit of the consolidated financial statements that were communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that (i) relate to accounts or disclosures that are material to the consolidated financial statements and (ii) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgements. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matters below, providing separate opinions on the critical audit matters or on the accounts or disclosures to which they relate.

Tradename Impairment Testing

As disclosed in Note 2 to the consolidated financial statements, indefinite-lived tradenames are tested for impairment annually in the fourth quarter of each year unless an interim test is required due to the presence of indictors that the tradenames may be impaired. The Company uses the income approach using a discounted cash flow model to value the indefinite-lived tradename, comparing its fair value to carrying value to determine impairment.  If the carrying value of

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such assets is considered to be impaired, the impairment to be recognized is measured as the amount by which the carrying amount of the assets exceeds fair value.

Finite-lived tradenames are reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that their carrying value may not be recoverable. The Company uses the income approach using an undiscounted cash flow model to assess the recoverability of the finite-lived tradename, comparing its undiscounted cash flows to its carrying value. If the carrying value exceeds undiscounted cash flows, the Company will use a discounted cash flow model to determine the fair value, and an impairment loss is recognized if the carrying amount of finite-lived intangible asset exceeds fair value.

As of December 31, 2020, the Company had one indefinite-lived tradename (Isaac Mizrahi Brand) with a carrying value of $44,500,000. As of December 31, 2019, the Company had two indefinite-lived tradenames (Isaac Mizrahi Brand and Ripka Brand) with a carrying value of $62,900,000.

As of December 31, 2020, the Company had four finite-lived tradenames (Ripka Brand, Halston Brand, C Wonder Brand and Longaberger Brand) with an aggregate carrying value of $48,748,000. As of December 31, 2019, the Company had three finite-lived tradenames (Halston Brand, C Wonder Brand and Longaberger Brand) with an aggregate carrying value of $47,780,000.

We identified the Company’s tradename impairment testing as a critical audit matter. Auditing the Company’s tradename impairment testing was complex and subjective due to the significant estimation required to determine the forecasted cash flows used in the Company’s testing. Specifically, the forecasted cash flows are sensitive to significant assumptions such as revenue growth rates, including the terminal growth rates, margins, expenses, and discount rates, all of which are affected by expected future market or economic conditions, including the effects of the global pandemic. In addition, our audit effort involved the use of professionals within our firm with specialized skill and knowledge in valuation methods and models.  

The primary procedures we performed to address this critical audit matter included the following.

We obtained an understanding of and evaluated the Company’s process to estimate future cashflows, including methods, data, and significant assumptions used in developing the discounted cashflow analysis as well as the completeness and accuracy of the underlying data used by the Company in its analyses.
We evaluated the reasonableness of the Company’s forecasted revenues, operating results, and cash flows by comparing those forecasts to the underlying business strategies and growth plans, including existing license arrangements. In addition, we performed a sensitivity analysis related to the key inputs to forecasted cash flows, including revenue growth rates, margins, and discount rates, to evaluate whether the changes in the assumptions would result in a material change in fair value of the tradenames.
We evaluated management’s ability to estimate future cash flows by comparing the Company’s historical forecasted sales, operating results, and cash flow forecasts to actual results. We also considered management's ability to estimate license renewals by examining historical renewal rates.
With the assistance of our firm’s valuation professionals, we evaluated the reasonableness of the Company’s discounted cash flow models, including the terminal value and discount rates assumptions.

Going Concern

As disclosed in Note 10 to the consolidated financial statements, in  March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of a novel coronavirus disease (“COVID-19”) as a pandemic, negatively and materially impacting the Company’s financial results and liquidity. Specifically, licensing and wholesale revenues decreased primarily due to lower customer sales by its licensees and wholesale customers as a result of government-ordered retail store closures as well as

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an overall slowdown in economic activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in significant uncertainty surrounding the potential impact on the Company’s future results of operations and cash flows.

We identified the evaluation of whether the Company has the ability to continue as a going concern due to liquidity impacted by COVID-19 as a critical audit matter. Auditing management’s going concern analysis was complex and highly subjective due to the significant estimation required to forecast future operations and cash flows that are affected by expected future market conditions, including the effects of global pandemic.

The primary procedures we performed to address this critical audit matter included the following.

We obtained an understanding of and tested the company’s process to identify events and circumstances that would raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern and process to estimate future cashflows, including methods, data, and significant assumptions used in developing the future cashflows, as well as the completeness and accuracy of the underlying data used by the Company in its analyses.
We evaluated the reasonableness of the following significant assumptions made by management, including:
oThe Company’s forecasted revenues and cash flows by comparing those forecasts to the underlying business strategies and growth plans, including existing license arrangements;  
oManagement’s ability to estimate future cash flows, including forecasted revenues, by comparing the Company’s historical cash flow forecasts to actual results. We also considered management's ability to estimate license renewals by examining historical renewal rates.; and
oWe performed a sensitivity analysis related to the key inputs to forecasted cash flows, including revenue growth rates and cost saving measures, to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on the Company’s future cash flows and how the Company’s strategy mitigates the impact

/s/ CohnReznick LLP

We have served as the Company’s auditors since 2012.

New York, New York

April 22, 2021

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Xcel Brands, Inc. and Subsidiaries

Consolidated Balance Sheets

(in thousands, except share and per share data)

    

December 31, 2020

    

December 31, 2019

Assets

 

  

 

  

Current Assets:

 

  

 

  

Cash and cash equivalents

$

4,957

$

4,641

Accounts receivable, net of allowances of $1,151 and $155, respectively

 

8,889

 

10,622

Inventory

 

1,216

 

899

Prepaid expenses and other current assets

 

1,085

 

1,404

Total current assets

 

16,147

 

17,566

Property and equipment, net

 

3,367

 

3,666

Operating lease right-of-use assets

8,668

9,250

Trademarks and other intangibles, net

 

93,535

 

111,095

Restricted cash

 

1,109

 

1,109

Other assets

 

228

 

505

Total non-current assets

 

106,907

 

125,625

Total Assets

$

123,054

$

143,191

Liabilities and Equity

 

  

 

  

Current Liabilities:

 

  

 

  

Accounts payable, accrued expenses and other current liabilities

$

4,442

$

4,391

Accrued payroll

 

973

 

1,444

Current portion of operating lease obligation

2,101

1,752

Current portion of long-term debt

 

2,800

 

2,250

Total current liabilities

 

10,316

 

9,837

Long-Term Liabilities:

 

  

 

  

Long-term portion of operating lease obligation

8,469

9,773

Long-term debt, less current portion

 

13,838

 

16,571

Contingent obligation

900

900

Deferred tax liabilities, net

 

3,052

 

7,434

Other long-term liabilities

 

224

 

224

Total long-term liabilities

 

26,483

 

34,902

Total Liabilities

 

36,799

 

44,739

Commitments and Contingencies

 

  

 

  

Equity:

 

  

 

  

Preferred stock, $.001 par value, 1,000,000 shares authorized, none issued and outstanding

 

 

Common stock, $.001 par value, 50,000,000 shares authorized, and 19,260,862 and 18,866,417 shares issued and outstanding at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively

 

19

 

19

Paid-in capital

 

102,324

 

101,736

Accumulated deficit

 

(16,595)

 

(3,659)

Total Xcel Brands, Inc. stockholders' equity

 

85,748

 

98,096

Noncontrolling interest

507

356

Total Equity

 

86,255

 

98,452

Total Liabilities and Equity

$

123,054

$

143,191

See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

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Xcel Brands, Inc. and Subsidiaries

Consolidated Statements of Operations

(in thousands, except share and per share data)

For the Year Ended

December 31, 

2020

    

2019

Revenues

  

 

  

Net licensing revenue

$

20,255

$

26,435

Net sales

 

9,193

 

15,292

Net revenue

 

29,448

 

41,727

Cost of goods sold (sales)

 

5,456

 

10,272

Gross profit

 

23,992

 

31,455

Operating costs and expenses

 

  

 

  

Salaries, benefits and employment taxes

 

13,061

 

15,834

Other design and marketing costs

 

3,334

 

3,164

Other selling, general and administrative expenses

 

6,567

 

5,552

(Recovery of) costs in connection with potential acquisitions

 

(158)

 

1,290

Stock-based compensation

 

850

 

976

Depreciation and amortization

 

5,497

 

3,902

Government assistance - Paycheck Protection Program and other

(1,816)

Asset impairment charges

 

13,113

 

6,200

Total operating costs and expenses

 

40,448

 

36,918

Other income

46

2,850

Operating loss

 

(16,410)

 

(2,613)

Interest and finance expense

 

  

 

  

Interest expense and other finance charges

1,193

1,285

Loss on extinguishment of debt

189

Total interest and finance expense

 

1,193

 

1,474

Loss before income taxes

 

(17,603)

 

(4,087)

Income tax benefit

 

(4,518)

 

(642)

Net loss

(13,085)

(3,445)

Less: Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest

(149)

(19)

Net loss attributable to Xcel Brands, Inc. stockholders

$

(12,936)

$

(3,426)

Loss per share attributable to Xcel Brands, Inc. common stockholders:

 

  

 

  

Basic net loss per share:

$

(0.68)

$

(0.18)

Diluted net loss per share:

$

(0.68)

$

(0.18)

Weighted average number of common shares outstanding:

 

  

 

  

Basic weighted average common shares outstanding

 

19,117,460

 

18,857,657

Diluted weighted average common shares outstanding

 

19,117,460

 

18,857,657

See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

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Xcel Brands, Inc. and Subsidiaries

Consolidated Statements of Stockholders’ Equity

(in thousands, except share data)

Xcel Brands, Inc. stockholders

Common Stock

Paid-in

Accumulated

Noncontrolling

    

Shares

    

Amount

    

Capital

    

Deficit

    

Interest

    

Total

Balance as of January 1, 2019

 

18,138,616

$

18

$

100,097

$

(233)

$

$

99,882

Issuance of common stock in connection with the acquisition of Halston Heritage

 

777,778

 

1

 

1,057

 

 

 

1,058

Shares issued to directors in connection with restricted stock grants, net of forfeitures

 

60,000

 

 

 

 

 

Shares issued on exercise of stock options, net

 

5,185

 

 

 

 

 

Compensation expense in connection with stock options and restricted stock

 

 

 

756

 

 

 

756

Shares repurchased including vested restricted stock in exchange for withholding taxes

 

(115,162)

 

 

(174)

 

 

 

(174)

Consolidation of Longaberger Licensing, LLC variable interest entity

 

 

 

 

 

375

 

375

Net loss for the year ended December 31, 2019

 

 

 

 

(3,426)

 

(19)

 

(3,445)

Balance as of December 31, 2019

 

18,866,417

 

19

 

101,736

 

(3,659)

 

356

 

98,452

Compensation expense in connection with stock options and restricted stock

 

 

 

257

 

 

 

257

Shares issued to executive in connection with stock grants for bonus payments

336,700

220

220

Shares issued to other employees in connection with stock grants

303,028

301

301

Shares repurchased from employees in exchange for withholding taxes

 

(245,283)

 

 

(190)

 

 

 

(190)

Additional investment in Longaberger Licensing, LLC by non-controlling interest

 

 

 

 

 

300

 

300

Net loss for the year ended December 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

(12,936)

 

(149)

 

(13,085)

Balance as of December 31, 2020

 

19,260,862

$

19

$

102,324

$

(16,595)

$

507

$

86,255

See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

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Xcel Brands, Inc. and Subsidiaries

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

(in thousands)

For the Year Ended December 31, 

    

2020

    

2019

Cash flows from operating activities

 

  

 

  

Net loss

$

(13,085)

$

(3,445)

Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash provided by operating activities:

 

 

  

Depreciation and amortization expense

 

5,497

 

3,902

Asset impairment charges

 

13,113

 

6,200

Amortization of deferred finance costs

 

95

 

146

Stock-based compensation

 

850

 

976

Amortization of note discount

 

 

16

Allowance for doubtful accounts

1,042

(50)

Loss on extinguishment of debt

189

Deferred income tax benefit

 

(4,382)

 

(705)

Net gain on sale of assets

(46)

Gain on reduction of contingent obligation

(2,850)

Changes in operating assets and liabilities:

 

 

Accounts receivable

 

691

 

438

Inventory

 

(317)

 

1,089

Prepaid expenses and other assets

 

597

 

(59)

Accounts payable, accrued expenses and other current liabilities

 

(496)

 

(1,720)

Cash paid in excess of rent expense

(374)

(431)

Other liabilities

 

 

(196)

Net cash provided by operating activities

 

3,185

 

3,500

Cash flows from investing activities

 

  

 

  

Cash consideration for acquisition of Halston Heritage assets

(8,830)

Net proceeds from sale of assets

46

Investment in Longaberger Licensing, LLC

 

 

(375)

Purchase of property and equipment

 

(748)

 

(1,133)

Net cash used in investing activities

 

(702)

 

(10,338)

Cash flows from financing activities

 

  

 

  

Shares repurchased including vested restricted stock in exchange for withholding taxes

 

(190)

 

(174)

Cash contribution from non-controlling interest

300

Payment of deferred finance costs