Coldwater Creek Files for Bankruptcy, Will Liquidate

Coldwater Creek, a women’s apparel and accessory retailer that also sold jewelry, said it plans to file for Chapter 11 and close its more than 300 stores.

The company’s announcement is only the latest in a series of closures of apparel retail chains—including Loehmann’s, Dots, Filene’s Basement, and Syms.

The company plans an “orderly wind-down of operations,” with liquidation sales to begin in May, managed by Gordon Brothers Group and Hilco Merchant Resources. It said it has reached agreement with its lenders on a liquidation plan. 

The publicly traded company was founded in Idaho in 1984 as a catalog-based business and now includes 334 stores, 31 factory outlet locations, and 11 day spas, as well as a website and catalog. It employs 5,990 people. 

At its peak in 2006, company revenue totaled $1.1 billion, said an affidavit from company chief financial officer James A. Bell. But the retail downturn beginning in 2007 hurt the business, and changes in management and strategy didn’t help.

The company realized it needed outside help for some time, according to the filing. It’s been for sale since 2013 but hasn’t found any takers and couldn’t attain sufficient refinancing. Falling sales last holiday season made the filing inevitable, Bell said.

“This difficult decision follows a comprehensive strategic and financial review of the business,” said president and CEO Jill Dean in a statement. “While we are extremely disappointed with this outcome, the company’s declining liquidity position and the challenging retail environment, together with the fact that we have exhausted all other possibilities, requires that we take this action.”

 

JCK News Director