SECOND BESTBest Products Inc. the well-known catalog showroom retailer, has filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors for the second time in five years. The case was filed Sept. 24 in federal court in Richmond, Va., under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.As part of reorganization under Chapter 11, Best -- whose biggest business is in jewelry and home furnishings -- will close almost half of its 169 stores and three of its four distribution centers by the end of the year. The company will lay off about 2,000 full-time and 2,500 part-time employees. Most of the closings will be in California, Colorado, Oregon, Texas and Washington.Best also operates 11 Best Jewelry stores and a mail-order service, which don't appear to be affected by the reorganization."The decision to file [for Chapter 11] was a difficult one," says Daniel H. Levy, chairman and chief executive officer.

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