Brookstone planning to shut down most stores after bankruptcy filing

Brookstone Inc., whose quirky products are a staple of airport shopping, is preparing to close most of its stores as part of a bankruptcy filing, according to people familiar with the matter.

A filing could come as soon as this month, said the people, who declined to be identified because the process isn’t public. The company is still evaluating its stores and may opt to keep locations open in airports, the people said. It plans to maintain its website and brand, one of the people said.

Brookstone has 140 stores in the U.S., including 36 in airports, according to its website. In Indianapolis, the company has stores in Circle Centre mall and at Indianapolis International Airport.

“We are currently seeking ways to revitalize our retail business,” the company said in a statement.

The specialty gift retailer, which sells everything from remote-control drones to massage chairs, would be the latest in a spate of bankruptcies in an industry beat down by online competition and a surfeit of stores. Mall tenants in particular have suffered, leading to bankruptcies like Gymboree Holding Corp., and Rue21 Inc., which reorganized with fewer stores. Other merchants like Bon-Ton Stores didn’t survive.

This would be Brookstone’s second trip to bankruptcy court since 2014, when the Merrimack, New Hampshire-based company filed a Chapter 11 petition with a deal to sell its assets to Spencer Spirit Holdings Inc. for about $146.3 million.

A group of Chinese buyers backed by retailing conglomerate Sanpower Group and Hong Kong-based private-equity firm Sailing Capital subsequently outbid Spencer with a deal valued at about $174 million.

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