Friday, 3 July 2009

Crabtree & Evelyn, Retailer, Files for Bankruptcy

By Bob Van Voris

July 1 (Bloomberg) -- Crabtree & Evelyn Ltd., the maker of soaps, gifts and toiletries sold in 126 stores in 34 states, filed for bankruptcy protection in New York, citing a decline in consumer spending.

The company, based in Woodstock, Connecticut, reported $46.2 million in assets and $33.2 million in liabilities in today’s bankruptcy petition.

“We are confident that Chapter 11 gives us the opportunity to restructure the company with a business model that will be sustainable for long-term growth,” Stephen Bestwick, the retailer’s acting president, said in a statement.

Crabtree & Evelyn is wholly owned by Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd., a Malaysian company that also owns palm oil and rubber plantations. The company is Malaysia’s third-largest palm oil producer.

Retail sales accounted for 56 percent of the Crabtree & Evelyn’s $107.5 million in revenue in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2008, it said in court papers. The company had operating losses in each of the past several years and projects it will lose $13.3 million this year, it said.

The company also sells products through 130 Crabtree & Evelyn stores operated by affiliates outside the U.S., through unaffiliated gift shops, and from its Internet site, it said in court papers. The company’s affiliates outside the U.S. didn’t file for protection, Crabtree & Evelyn said in the statement.

Crabtree & Evelyn employs 950, it said in the bankruptcy filing.

The case is In re Crabtree & Evelyn Ltd., 09-14267, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of New York (Manhattan).

Last Updated: July 1, 2009 11:08 EDT