Seattle — Privately held kitchenware retailer Sur La Table has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Seattle-based company is set to close 56 of its 121 stores, according to reports by The New York Times, making it the latest retailer to struggle under strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following store closures and bankruptcy proceedings, Sur La Table has entered into a stalking horse agreement — or an initial bid on the assets of a bankrupt company — to affiliates of New York City-based Fortress Investment Group. The private equity firm is working with Los Angeles-based STORY3 Capital Partners, a private equity and debt investor that has previously invested in retailers such as Hot Topic, Nordstrom, Oakley, True Religion and West Marine.
Jason Goldberger, CEO of Sur La Table, says the company will focus on its successful stores, online platform and in-person cooking classes post-sale.
“This sale process will result in a revitalized Sur La Table, positioned to thrive in a post-COVID-19 retail environment,” says Goldberger. “Sur La Table will have a balance sheet and retail footprint optimized to position the company for a bright future that continues our nearly 50-year tradition of offering high-quality cooking products and experiences to our customers.”
Of the 56 locations being closed, 51 are having liquidations sales and will permanently close in the next eight to 12 weeks, The New York Times reports. As of July 4, all 121 Sur La Table stores had reopened in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), federal, state and local guidelines.
Sur La Table opened the doors to its first retail location in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market in the early 1970s. The company’s stores offer a mix of cookware, cutlery, kitchen electrics and bakeware alongside in-store cooking classes.
— Katie Sloan