FINANCE

Coldwater Creek files bankruptcy, to liquidate

BY Marianne Wilson

Sandpoint, Idaho — Coldwater Creek Inc. on Friday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, with plans to close its stores and wind down operations by early summer.

“This difficult decision follows a comprehensive strategic and financial review of the business. While we are extremely disappointed with this outcome, the company’s declining liquidity position and the challenging retail environment, together with the fact that we have exhausted all other possibilities, requires that we take this action,” stated Jill Dean, CEO, Coldwater Creek, which, at the end of its most recent quarter, operated 343 stores, 36 factory outlets, and seven spas.

The retailer said it expects to start inventory clearance sales in May and has reached an agreement with inventory liquidators Gordon Brothers Retail Partners and Hilco Merchant Resources to manage its clearances.

In October, Coldwater Creek said it was exploring strategic alternatives, including a sale. But the company and its advisers were unable to find a buyer.

Coldwater Creek has struggled in recent years amid tepid consumer spending and fashions that didn’t resonate with customers. It hadn’t posted a quarterly profit since second quarter 2010. Same-store sales fell 17% in its most recently completed quarter, ended Nov. 2.

In conjunction with its bankruptcy filing, Coldwater Creek has received a commitment for $75 million in "debtor-in-possession" financing from its existing lender, Wells Fargo. Subject to court approval, the financing will be available to support the Company’s operations during the wind-down process.

The company listed assets of $278.5 million and liabilities of $361.3 million, according to its Chapter 11 petition filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.

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OPERATIONS

Massmart CEO resigns

BY Dan Berthiaume

Sandton, South Africa – Grant Pattison, CEO of Massmart Holdings Ltd., a South African retailer that operates as a subsidiary of Wal-Mart, is resigning. Pattison, 43, will be replaced by Massmart COO Guy Hayward, 48, on June 1, as part of what the company terms a smooth succession plan.

Pattison joined Massmart in 1998 and was appointed CEO in 2007. He was CEO when Massmart sold a majority stake to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Hayward has served with Massmart since 2000, receiving appointments as CFO in 2001 and COO in 2012.

“I have led a remarkable team and I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished during my tenure,” said Pattison. “The group is in good shape and well positioned for growth and I can think of no better time to hand over the reins. My successor is someone with whom I have worked closely and who has the skill and energy to take Massmart forward. I would like to congratulate Guy on his appointment and wish him well in his new role.”

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REAL ESTATE

J&R Music to redevelop Manhattan store site

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – The owners of New York City’s famed J&R Music and Computer World, an independent music and electronics store in Lower Manhattan since 1971, have closed the store to redevelop its site.

“J&R will close its doors so we can rebuild this location into what we hope will be an unprecedented retail concept and social mecca,” owners Joe and Rachelle Friedman said in a statement on the company’s website. “The buildings that J&R occupies have to be totally reimagined and developed.”

While the statement promises more details in the future, an accompanying sketch with the caption “2015” shows a modern, six-story, triangular-shaped glass-and-steel building on the corner of 1 Park Row.

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