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Brookstone closing stores; files Chapter 11—again

Troubled specialty gift retailer Brookstone Inc. has lowered the ax on its mall stores.

Brookstone on Thursday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, listing assets of $50 million to $100 million and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million. The 45-year-old company has begun closing its remaining 101 mall stores. It will continue to operate its 35 airport stores, e-commerce and wholesale businesses as it looks to find a seller for the units.

The retailer first filed for bankruptcy protection in 2014, and was subsequently was sold at an auction to a group of Chinese buyers backed by retailing conglomerate Sanpower Group and Hong Kong-based private-equity firm Sailing Capital before emerging from bankruptcy protection.

Brookstone blamed deteriorating mall traffic, supply chain issues, technical problems and management turnover for its recent problems.

“Today we have taken several important steps to restructure the business and ensure that Brookstone will be well-positioned to succeed for years to come," said CEO Piau Phang Foo. “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."

This will be Brookstone’s second trip to bankruptcy court since 2014, when the Merrimack, New Hampshire-based company filed a Chapter 11 petition with a deal to sell its assets to Spencer Spirit Holdings Inc. for about $146.3 million. A group outbid Spencer with a deal valued at about $174 million.

Brookstone said it's secured roughly $30 million in post-petition financing through Wells Fargo Bank and Gordon Brother Finance Company.
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