Kitchenware retailer Sur La Table has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in this cuckoo crazy coronavirus world. I must remind you that filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy does not mean a company is going out of business—it means it’s working on reorganizing its debt and restructuring so that it has a chance to emerge from bankruptcy as a healthy, functioning company. (The really, truly, fucked-beyond-all-hope bankruptcy is Chapter 7). Since Sur la Table is a privately held company (its owned by private equity firm Investcorp), there’s no firm information regarding the specific amount of their debt, but in May the Seattle Times reported that in Q1 regulatory filings, two of its publicly traded creditors had significantly slashed their valuation of Sur La Table’s debt: BlackRock Capital Investment reported that the “fair value” of its $21 million investment had shrunk to $13.86 million, and Capitala Finance’s valuation on their $10.5 million investment dropped 41% to $6.2 million. So, in other words: this is not good! Not good at all!
Since Sur La Table is fighting to stay alive it will not be closing all its stores (unlike competing home goods store Pier 1, whose goose is fully cooked). Currently Sur La Table plans to shutter only 51 of its 121 locations and, according to court documents, is looking to raise capital by selling its remaining stores to Fortress Investment Group. Fingers crossed that the remaining 70 locations can be saved, because that’s a hell of a lot of jobs to be lost.
But with the bad news of thousands of people losing their jobs, there’s some good news: BIG, BIG SALES! The liquidations will be happening in-store, so if you’re looking for a nice Dutch oven or avocado slicer on the cheap, check here to see if any of those stores are near you.