Reuters reports Brookstone, the specialty retailer, could file bankruptcy as early as this Sunday. Plans are already in place, however, for Spencer Spirit Holdings Inc, which owns the retail chain Spencer’s and costume retailer Spirit, to purchase Brookstone. Both companies have been in discussions for weeks and are attempting to finalize the deal over the weekend.
If the deal is finalized, Spencer Spirit Holdings could pay as much as $120 million for Brookstone, according to the Journal. The Journal also reports Brookstone has debts of approximately $140 million.
Who is Brookstone?
Brookstone, which opened their first location in the United States in 1973 in Peterborough, New Hampshire, is famous for selling a variety of unique products ranging from massage chairs, specialty pillows, alarm clocks, speakers, blankets, remote control helicopters and iPad accessories.
Brookstone also has other products which it designs and sells under its own brand, primarily in shopping malls. Brookstone also prides itself on allowing customers to try the products out in the store prior to purchase. There are currently more than 300 Brookstone stores throughout the United States.
In 2005, the company was taken private by a group led by Osim, Asia’s biggest maker of massage chairs, in a $445 million deal. According to Reuters, “The group included Temasek Holdings and private equity firm JW Childs Associates LP.” The company currently is headquartered in Merrimack, New Hampshire.
History of Brookstone
Pierre de Beaumont loved to “tinker” and developed Brookstone first as a catalog company which offered hard to find items and tools. The high demand and a strong consumer base from catalog sales led Pierre de Beaumont and his wife Marry to open their first Brookstone retail store.
In the 1980s as the Beaumont’s retail success expanded Brookstone began offering products in their stores which were not available in their catalog, although the focus of the retail outlets remained focused on those hard to find items.
By the late 1980s, sales had exceeded $93 million and their success continued through the early 1990s where the store earned an estimated $104.6 million. By 1993, Brookstone operated around 100 stores in the United States with two distribution centers. The company has evolved into a multi-million dollar company while continuing to offer what they consider unusual and interesting products.
Throughout the last decade Brookstone has shifted their focus from tools to electronics and the stores have been redesigned with tile floors and track lighting. Brookstone stores remain primarily in large shopping malls.
Within the next few weeks we will find out whether Brookstone will file bankruptcy and the sale will be made to Spencer Spirit Holdings Inc.
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