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Coldwater Creek files for bankruptcy, liquidation

UPDATED: Fri., April 11, 2014, 11:31 a.m.

Liquidation sales will start later this year

SANDPOINT — The women’s clothing retailer Coldwater Creek has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after failing to find a potential buyer or a source of capital to help fund its turnaround efforts.

Coldwater Creek said Friday that its stores and its website are still open and selling clothing and other goods to shoppers.

In addition to a retail store in Sandpoint, Coldwater Creek has a call center in Coeur d’Alene.

In papers filed Friday the company listed assets worth $278.5 million and debt of $361.3 million.

The Sandpoint headquarters has 339 employees and more than 5,500 other workers throughout the system. It’s the second largest private employer in Bonner County.

The company plans sales to liquidate inventory in early May. Those will include plans for deep discounts pegged to Mother’s Day sales..

In a prepared statement CEO Jill Dean said the company spent the past six months evaluating its options, but that its declining financial resources, tough retail conditions and its inability to find other viable options drove it to file for bankruptcy protection.

Coldwater Creek has struggled in recent years due to weak consumer spending and a failure to find fashions that resonated with customers. It hadn’t posted a quarterly profit since the second quarter of 2010.

The Sandpoint-based company had cut costs and closed some stores during its attempts to keep the business afloat. It also made other moves to improve its profitability, but declines in sales trends continued to intensify.

The retailer said that it reached an agreement with its lenders on a liquidation plan and also reached a deal with inventory liquidators Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC and Hilco Merchant Resources LLC to manage its inventory clearance sales.

The liquidation plan doesn’t contemplate any recovery for its shareholders. The liquidation plan still needs approval from the bankruptcy court.

Coldwater Creek Inc. is getting $75 million in debtor-in-possession financing from existing lender Wells Fargo to help it wind down its business. The company made its bankruptcy filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.

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