Brookstone files for bankruptcy – again

Quirky gadget retailer Brookstone has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection – for the second time.

But the company has a clear strategy for its survival: closing its 101 remaining mall-based stores in favour of focusing on expanding its airport retail concept – which now numbers 35 stores – selling goods online and wholesaling.

Brookstone has secured US$30 million in bankruptcy financing from Wells Fargo and Gordon Brothers. It said the mall-based store business was no longer viable “following continued deterioration of traditional retail mall traffic”.

But its airport, online and wholesale operations are “operating successfully and should prove attractive to a buyer with the financial resources and vision to carry our company into the future,” said CEO Piau Phang Foo in a statement.

Brookstone was founded in 1965, selling “hard-to-find tools” through Popular Mechanics magazine as a direct-marketing business. It opened its first brick-and-mortar store in 1973.

In 2014 it was placed in Chapter 11 before being rescued by China’s Sailing Capital and Sanpower Group for $174 million.

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