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Another mall fixture files for Chapter 11, cites new opportunities

The ax falls again.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings for large and well-known commercial players seem to be decidedly on the upswing these days. That is especially notable in the retail sector and involving enterprises with long-established presences in malls and shopping centers.

The iconic company Brookstone now adds its name to the list of debt-challenged companies that are reaching out for bankruptcy protection to prevent further erosion and hopefully yield new restructuring opportunities.

Many of our readers in New York and elsewhere likely know – and well remember – Brookstone if they ever indulged in a complementary full-body or foot massage at one of its mall locations. The company’s mall-based stores number about 100 across the country.

And their days are numbered, with a Chapter 11 filing last week being in tandem with instructions to liquidators to close down those locations. Like many other brick-and-mortar establishments, Brookstone is suffering from changing consumer preferences that increasingly favor online shopping, As a recent national article on the bankruptcy strategy notes, the company is “bleeding cash.”

Yet it continues to have high hopes, as do many commercial bankruptcy filers who see reasonable opportunities to pare down debt and materially restructure via Chapter 11. Brookstone has 35 airport locations that it hopes to keep running, and is actively seeking a new buyer for the business.

Brookstone’s CEO states the company’s move will help ensure future success. He says that purposefully restructuring toward a tighter and more streamlined business model will help it to pursue a profitable path “with a smaller physical footprint.”

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