Sur La Table, the upscale cookware company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday, dealing another blow to brick-and-mortar retail. The company has started liquidating 51 of its 121 U.S. stores, according to court filings, which it said were in shopping centers and traditional shopping malls or as stand-alone storefronts.
The privately held retailer, founded in 1972 at Seattle’s Pike Place market, said that it expected to sell up to 70 stores to Fortress Investment Group, which is working with STORY3 Capital Partners. Sur La Table said in court filings that the deal would preserve nearly 2,000 jobs and the company’s online business and cooking classes.
Sur La Table is at least the eighth specialty retailer or department store chain to file for bankruptcy since May, as the pandemic forced temporary closures of nonessential businesses. The company, which recently posting annual revenue of about $346 million, said its sales had been declining for five years that it had been betting on growth in cooking classes. It filed for bankruptcy protection on the same day as Brooks Brothers.