J. Crew Group Inc., the preppy retailer that recently fell on hard times, is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection, one of several high-profile U.S. chains that are on the verge of unraveling during the coronavirus pandemic.

J. Crew has been in talks with a group of lenders for several weeks since the company was forced to cancel plans to take its Madewell subsidiary public, these people said. The company had planned to use the proceeds of the Madewell IPO to pay down part of its $1.7 billion debt. But the IPO plans…

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