Brookstone which is basically the ubiquitous seller of cool but largely unneeded things, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection again.
Brookstone has filed for bankruptcy and will close its remaining 101 mall stores.
On Thursday, the mall and airport seller, best known for its massage chairs, quirky gadgets, and travel luggage, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court. It was Brookstone’s second bankruptcy filing in four years.
The company,however, will keep its 35 airport stores and website open and running while it attempts to find a buyer. It has secured a $30 million loan to finance operations during the sale.
Several mall-based retailers have filed for bankruptcy protection during the past few months, many of them apparel brands, including The Limited, Wet Seal, Rue21 and department store chain Bon-Ton. A shift toward online spending among consumers has threatened many businesses that rely primarily on their brick-and-mortar locations to drive sales.
Shopping malls in particular already have a glut of vacant stores to fill and are looking to online start-ups and international businesses to do so. CNBC reported earlier this year that U.S. malls haven’t been this empty since 2012, but landlords are still hopeful they’ll be able to find new uses for the space, many outside of retail.
Malls have suffered for years due to far-reaching shifts in the way that Americans shop for just about everything, which has diminished foot traffic at Brookstone. On Thursday, CEO Piau Phang Foo called the situation in malls “extremely challenging,” and thanked employees who had staffed stores in those locations.
Brookstone will focus solely on its airport locations and online sales.
Mr. Foo said in a statement that, “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.”
The company has 35 stores in airports, which, along with its online and wholesale business, will be attractive to any potential buyer, Foo said.
According to a bankruptcy filing, Brookstone has assets of $50 million to $100 million, and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million.
Brookstone first filed for bankruptcy protection in 2014. The Merrimack, New Hampshire, company was sold at auction in June of that year before emerging from bankruptcy protection.
Brookstone was founded in the year 1965 when Pierre de Beaumont put an ad in Popular Mechanics Magazine offering hard-to-find tools and other devices, according to the company’s website.
Its first store opened in 1973.