Searle Filed for Bankruptcy

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A sampling of Bonpoint's girl's offerings. Photo: Shanna Ravindra

Searle filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday. The voluntary petition listed assets of between $1 million and $10 million with liabilities in the same range. President of debtors Searle Blatt cited the economic downturn as the reason for the filing, obviously, noting sales "dropped dramatically" over the past year with no improvements during the holiday shopping season. The business will still operate but Searle's sales director Rick Weinstein hasn't ruled out closing stores. Following the lackluster holiday season, shoppers are spilling into the stores now, probably thanks to its current 80 percent off sale. “A smart retailer finds the price at which the merchandise will move,” Weinstein said. “The customer is responding." Tell that to Versace.

Retail experts predict this is just one of many bankruptcies to come this month after troublesome holiday sales. One such expert, Walter Loeb, said bills were due January 10 and the "highly leveraged" businesses who can't pay will seek court protection. What a way to start the New Year.

Searle Goes Chapter 11 [WWD]