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Fortunoff Said to Have Attracted Buyer

New York City, Flagging jewelry and housewares retailer Fortunoff is reported to be nearing acquisition by the owner of the Lord & Taylor department store chain, according to a report on Thursday in The New York Times.

Sources close to the situation said the $100 million deal would put Fortunoff merchandise in all 47 Lord & Taylor stores, and even open a Fortunoff boutique in the Lord & Taylor Fifth Avenue flagship.

Purchase, N.Y.-based NRDC Equity Partners, the private equity firm that owns Lord & Taylor, hasn’t commented directly on the matter, but it is said to be nearing a deal. People close to NRDC have warned, however, that Fortunoff has drawn interest from several bidders that could outmaneuver NRDC.

The proposed acquisition comes on the heels of a report that the company is considering Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and observations from retail experts that its stores are struggling to keep up its inventory.

Should the acquisition by NRDC take place, sources briefed on the negotiations said NRDC had no plans to close any Fortunoff stores and would like to expand the number of its full-line stores, from four to perhaps dozens.