March 2, 2009, 12:00 AM

Fortunoff enters liquidation

Multichannel home furnishings and jewelry retailer Fortunoff has entered liquidation following an asset sale to a group of seven liquidators. The e-commerce site, Fortunoff.com, carries only a message to “check back later.”

Multichannel home furnishings and jewelry retailer Fortunoff has entered liquidation following an asset sale of 88.8% of its value, or about $85 million, to a group of seven liquidators. The asset auction yielded no buyers willing to take over the ailing chain.

The sale was approved last week by a judge in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Southern New York. The liquidators are: Tiger Capital Group, SB Capital Group, Kimco Realty Services, Great American Group, Hudson Capital Partners, The Gordon Co. and Bobby Wilkerson Inc.

The going-out-of-business sale at Fortunoff’s 19 stores in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York affects $210 million in inventory. Gift cards, credits and rewards certificates will be honored through March 8.

The e-commerce site, Fortunoff.com, carries only a message to “check back later.”

Fortunoff filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early February, blaming a sales slowdown on the economic crisis. The company noted debt exceeding $100 million in its filing with the federal bankruptcy court. Fortunoff also declared bankruptcy in January 2008 and was acquired in February 2008 by NRDC Equity Partners for $110 million.

For the nine-month period ending in November 2008, Fortunoff recorded $42 million in operating losses, court documents show. The company reported flat web sales of $22.5 million for 2007. Fortunoff is No. 299 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

In early February the court granted Fortunoff access to a $10 million loan from Wells Fargo to use toward operating expenses while seeking bidders for the asset auction.

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