FINANCE

Hartstrings files Chapter 7

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Children’s clothing retailer Hartstrings L.L.C., owned by Maryland private-equity firm American Capital L.P., has declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The company, which has 28 stores and a wholesale operation, plans to dissolve the business.

The filing comes a year after the company entered into an agreement with television personality Tori Spelling to develop a children’s clothing line under the Little Maven label.

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OPERATIONS

Borders executive VP and chief merchant resigns

BY Marianne Wilson

Ann Arbor, Mich. — Borders Group executive VP and chief merchandising officer Michele Cloutier has resigned, Borders said in a late afternoon Friday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

It is the latest in a string of high-level departures from the bookseller as it struggles to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

On Thursday, the company received a deadline extension until mid-October to file a plan to restructure. An attorney for Borders said parts of the company could be sold in as quickly as two weeks.

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FINANCE

Office Depot reaches settlement in Colorado

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Office Depot has reached an agreement with Colorado’s attorney general to offer a refund to about 115 Colorado governmental agencies and nonprofits in connection with the sale of office supplies between January 2006 and March 2009, the Denver Business Journal reported.

The agreement calls for the chain to refund customers as much as $189,000.

Following a yearlong investigation, the attorney general of Colorado alleged that the customers were placed on a higher-cost price plan, either without their knowledge or without complete information about the cost differences between the price plans available to customers, the report said.

Office Depot agreed to pay a total of $412,000 to the state of Colorado, $189,441.06 of which will be used to reimburse customers. The remaining $222,561.94 and any interest will be used for reimbursement of the state’s costs and attorney fees, as well as consumer education or other antitrust enforcement actions.

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