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About a year after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Toys “R” Us appears to be making a return to the retail market as a national chain.

After the former toy retail giant liquidated its business last year, its lenders took control of the company’s intellectual property, which includes the Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, and Geoffrey brand names.

In late January 2019, several former Toys “R” Us executives started running a new company called “Tru Kids” to manage those brands.


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53 –year old gift engraver and retailer, Things Remembered Inc., filed on Wednesday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the District of Delaware docket #19-10234. The chain operates more than 400 locations, nationally, and expects to close about 250 stores in its initial efforts to reorganize under the Bankruptcy Code.

Enesco, the giftware and home and garden décor company, is the stalking horse bidder to take approximately 130 of Things Remembered leases in the bankruptcy case with court approval. The stalking horse bid is $17.3 million.


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Charlotte Russe Holding, Inc. (“Charlotte Russe”), the women’s fashion retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the District of Delaware docket #19-10201. The chain operates more than 500 locations, nationally, and is closing about 90 stores in its initial efforts to reorganize under the Bankruptcy Code.

CNN reports that it secured $50 million for initial bankruptcy funding to continue running about 400 Charlotte Russe and Peek Children’s stores for the next few months.


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2018 represented another busy year for Chapter 11 retail bankruptcy filings, with Sears dominating the headlines in the last quarter of 2018 and Toys “R” Us closing all of its US stores before the third quarter.

As the New Year unfolds, there could be companies in trouble in 2019. The following are retailers to watch for a possible Chapter 11 filing this year:


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David’s Bridal, Inc., the country’s largest wedding dress retailer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the District of Delaware this morning, under case Number 18-12635 (LSS). According to reports from USA Today, the company plans to operate its 300 stores and stay in business.

Unlike its competitor, Alfred Angelo, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017 and left brides and grooms standing at the altar without their garb, David’s Bridal has assured customers that all orders will arrive on time and that any bridal appointments will not be impacted.


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Reuters reports that Houston-based Mattress Firm, Inc. the largest U.S. mattress retailer with 3,000 stores is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by the end of this week. Additionally, Reuters cites that its South African parent company, Steinhoff International Holdings NV, is encountering debt challenges, as well.

It is expected that the filing would be a shedding of unprofitable stores to attempt to secure the company, much like Payless did in its Chapter 11 filing. A filing at the end of this week would likely mean that Mattress Firm does not pay its October rents on time, as it moves to reject a number of leases.

mattress firm bankruptcy filing

If you have a Mattress Firm lease, it is important to know your rights now. Stark & Stark’s Shopping Center & Retail Development Group can help.


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In the last few days, hundreds of bankruptcy complaints against trade creditors were filed by bankrupt Chapter 11 debtor VRG Liquidating, LLC (formerly EMS) (docket 16-10971). The crux of the complaints that many businesses will be shortly served concern “preferences,” requesting the return of money received from bankrupt debtors 90 days prior to the bankruptcy filing of April 18, 2016 for goods or services sold. However, before you go writing a check to return hard earned money, you should know that you may have defenses that can be asserted.

What is Preference?

A preference is a payment received from a debtor, made within 90 days of the bankruptcy filing. Bankruptcy Code section 547(b) allows a bankruptcy trustee or debtor-in-possession (here, VRG) to avoid these payments, if the transfers were to or for the benefit of a creditor on account of an antecedent debt, while the debtor was insolvent. When Congress enacted the Bankruptcy Code, the policy behind preferences was to level the playing field for all creditors by not allowing a creditor to receive more than it would have within the debtor’s bankruptcy case.


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Within the last week, two (2) retailers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Heritage Home Group LLC and Real Mex Restaurants. Heritage originally emerged after a 2013 bankruptcy of the Thomasville, Broyhill, and Lane furniture brands, and Rex Mex operates Chevys Fresh Mex, El Torito, and other full-service restaurant brands. Both filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court District of Delaware, cases 18-11736 and 18-11795 respectively.

Additionally, Reuters and CNBC are reporting that Mattress Firm Inc., the largest U.S. mattress retailer, is also contemplating Chapter 11 filing.


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This week, Massachusetts-based pizza chain Bertucci’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Delaware (seeking joint administration under case No. 18-10894). Bertucci’s operates 59 stores, 29 of which it plans to reject.

According to The Wall Street Journal, an affiliate of Chicago-based investment firm Right Lane Capital LLC has agreed to purchase the chain’s assets, but that bid will be tested at a bankruptcy-court supervised auction.


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Today, Claire’s Stores, Inc., along with seven affiliates and subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Delaware (Case No. 18-10584). Claire’s is a well-known specialty retailer of teen and young women jewelry, accessories, and beauty products, as well as ear piercings at local malls, based in Cook County, Illinois.

Back in January 2018, I included them on my list of Retailers to Watch for a Bankruptcy Filing in 2018.

According to Court pleadings, the company negotiated a restructuring support agreement and plan term sheet with an ad hoc group of its first lien noteholders and is seeking approval of up to $135 million in DIP financing.

The company lists 92 stores to close, on top of the 100 that it closed last year. Still, Claire’s indicates that it intends to operate the remaining 1,600 Claire’s and Icing brand stores through a restructuring.


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