Vender Vetoes Plans for Carlyle

Russell Cohen’s plan to resurrect Carlyle is all but dead, after a leading vendor withdrew its support.

Cohen, whose family founded the chain nearly 90 years ago, purchased the Carlyle name and 14 of its stores following the bankruptcy of former owner Finlay Enterprises last year. (See “Congress, Carlyle Owners Buy Stores Back,” JCK, January 2010, p. 21.)

However, in February Cohen told associates in a letter that “a key vendor, and one with whom we shared a special relationship over several decades, has decided to pursue a different direction. In addition, the bankruptcy process, which has been somewhat unpredictable, now presents with deadlines that, when coupled with our key vendor’s new plans, make it impossible to prelaunch the chain out of bankruptcy.”

The result is “a last-minute roadblock that is impossible to get around,” Cohen said.

Not happy about all this are the lawyers handling Finlay’s liquidation, who filed a lawsuit claiming Cohen has “walked away” from his obligations. They’re trying to compel him to purchase the stores.—RB