Retail

The End Of An Era: Brookstone Files For Bankruptcy Protection

Brookstone, the specialty retailer known for massage chairs and gadgets, filed for bankruptcy protection, reported the Wall Street Journal.

According to the report, Brookstone said, as part of its bankruptcy filing, it will shutter 102 stores located in malls. Rewind a decade and Brookstone was a must-see store when people went to the mall, but thanks to eCommerce and smartphones, foot traffic has declined to the point where it can no longer survive.

Brookstone splashed on the scene in 1965, selling tools the Wall Street Journal said were hard to find. It was taken into the private sector in 2005, then filed for bankruptcy in 2014. During that time frame, it was sold to investors in China. Brookstone was able to outlive other specialty retailers, including Sharper Image, which filed for bankruptcy protection and shut down operations in 2008, and SkyMall, which filed for bankruptcy in 2015. Both have operations online under new owners, reported the Wall Street Journal.

In its bankruptcy announcement, Brookstone said it would place 35 airport stores up for sale, given those stores still do well. The Wall Street Journal reported in July that Brookstone was in discussions with liquidators to shutter mall outlets. People familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal that the airport stores have done better than the mall stores, with the airport stores making up 17 percent of its sales. Last year, the airport stores had close to $38 million in sales, which was lower than the $44 million it lodged the year earlier.

The remainder of its assets will be sold in a bankruptcy-run auction, which it hopes to complete by the end of September. Although the company sells products from other manufacturers, including Fitbit watches and Tempur-Pedic pillows, its branded products account for close to 70 percent of all its net sales, according to the Wall Street Journal. Brookstone is also looking to sell its intellectual property, including its brand names and its eCommerce business.

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