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Fortunoff Files for Chapter 11

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New York City Jewelry and housewares retailer Fortunoff Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday. The Westbury, Long Island-based company cited assets between $100 million and $500 million, along with the same amount in liabilities.

“The jewelry and home-goods business have been hit particularly hard by the economic downturn. However, we are actively seeking a buyer for the business, and we will continue to do so in the Chapter 11 process,” said Fortunoff’s chief executive, Charles Chinni, in a statement.

Fortunoff’s parent, NRDC Equity Partners, which also owns Lord & Taylor, had recently put the chain up for sale. NRDC bought 87-year-old Fortunoff out of bankruptcy protection last March.

Fortunoff began suffering a "severe liquidity crisis" in January as it was trying to sell the company, according to court documents.

Dismal sales over the 2008 holiday season, weak consumer spending on high-end furniture and jewelry, the costs of expanding its jewelry line in Lord & Taylor stores and reduced borrowing capacity all hurt operations.

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