Coldwater Creek prepping for bankruptcy filing

Apparel retailer Coldwater Creek (NASDAQ: CWTR) may file for bankruptcy protection and liquidate assets as early as this week, according to sources quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

Coldwater Creek has not been profitable since 2007, and five months ago announced it was exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale. The company reportedly attempted to avoid a bankruptcy filing by refinancing debt or selling itself to a private-equity buyer. Those plans were ultimately unsuccessful, sources told WSJ.

The women's clothing retailer has struggled with high debt and declining sales for several years. It posted revenue of roughly $155 million for the fiscal 2013 third quarter, compared with $188 million for the prior-year quarter. Sales at stores open at least a year plunged 17 percent.

Coldwater Creek carries about $353 million in total debt, which includes about $180 million in current liabilities, according to its most recent earnings filing.

Coldwater Creek owns roughly 340 retail stores and operates e-commerce and catalog businesses. The company also operates seven spas in the U.S. Coldwater Creek was founded in 1984 in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Bankruptcy filings have become common in recent months as merchants face higher competition with online shopping and highly demanding consumers. Coldwater Creek would be the sixth major retailer affected by bankruptcy this year, behind Brookstone, Quiznos, Sbarro, Dots and Loehmann's amid sluggish consumer spending.

For more:
-See this Wall Street Journal article
-See this Bloomberg article

Related stories:
Dots approved for bankruptcy auction 
Dots files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, closes 30 stores
Loehmann's announces closure of all stores
Loehmann's assets, leases sold at auction
Why T.J. Maxx, Marshalls thrive as Loehmann's goes bankrupt

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