I live about 10 minutes North and 10 minutes South of two Searle stores so I tend to pass one or the other fairly often. The few times that I have actually popped into one of their boutiques I’ve been consistently shocked at how few people there were inside. Understandably things have been slow recently, but even before the economic downturn started, I never found more than a dozen or so people inside any of the Searle shops. I’m assuming there were a lot of repeat customers who knew the sales people well enough to have clothing pulled for them on a regular basis, but even so I wasn’t all too surprised when it was announced that the specialty retailer known for its coats filed for bankruptcy court protection on Wednesday, January 7th.
The filing was done under the name Searle Blatt & Co. Ltd. And WWD is reporting that it was a voluntary Chapter 11 petition and that affiliate firm, Tom Jones Inc., also filed. The filing listed assets of between $1 million and $10 million and liabilities in the same range.
President of both debtors Searly Blatt said in an affidavit that sales have dropped dramatically over the past 12 months. The holiday season, historically the high point of the year, did not reverse the trend and the debtors were forced to reorganize. That said, both Tom Jones and Searle will continue operations, though everything – including shutting some outlets – is being considered.