Brookstone Co. Inc. announced this morning that it is filing for Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in hopes of finding a buyer for certain aspects of its chain. It also said it has begun to close its remaining 101 mall stores. It has locations at The Westchester in White Plains, the Palisades Center mall in West Nyack and the Danbury Fair Mall in Connecticut.
Brookstone CEO Piau Phang Foo said in a statement: “The decision to close our mall stores was difficult, but ultimately provides an opportunity to maintain our well-respected brand and award-winning products while operating with a smaller physical footprint. We thank all our mall store employees and managers who have contributed so much despite an extremely challenging retail environment at malls and our thousands of loyal customers whom we look forward to continuing to serve.”
While its mall stores may be closing, Foo said, “Our airport, e-commerce and wholesale business divisions are operating successfully and should prove attractive to a buyer with the financial resources and vision to carry our company into the future.”
It has 35 stores in airports nationwide.
The Merrimack, New-Hampshire-based company first filed for bankruptcy protection four years ago. Chinese private equity fund Sailing Capital and Chinese conglomerate Sanpower bought Brookstone Holdings Corp. for more than $173 million at auction in June 2014.
In April of this year, Brookstone announced the launch of its Brookstone PLUS Innovation & Retail Platform. Its purpose, according to a press release, is to give “makers and tech brands faster access to stores in U.S. malls and accelerates the collection of customer feedback essential to product development. The platform also helps makers and brands sell products in A-level malls at low cost structures that are competitive to selling through online marketplaces.”
As part of its initiative, the company opened its first Brookstone Makers Showcase store at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, Long Island. It was not disclosed if this store will remain open.
Through an agreement with Wells Fargo Bank and Gordon Brothers Finance Co., Brookstone said in a statement that it “has secured access to approximately $30 million in post-petition financing to support operations during the sale and restructuring process. The company reinforced it will pay vendors on a priority basis for goods and services ordered and received from this point forward.”
According to its website, the company had its start in 1965 when Harvard-trained engineer and former auto company executive Pierre de Beaumont placed a small ad in the back of Popular Mechanics magazine. He offered “hobbyists and other innovation-minded people a new way to get their hands on hard-to-find tools and smart new inventions.” The Brookstone name came the name of the small farm from which he and his wife, Mary Deland, ran their mail-order business. Its first brick-and-mortar store was in Peterborough, New Hampshire.