Sur La Table to Close Over 50 Locations After Filing for Bankruptcy
Shoppers can expect to see liquidation sales across the country in the coming weeks.
Started as a single Seattle location 1972, Sur La Table went on to become one of the largest kitchenware and cooking brands in the country. That nearly five-decade-long story will not end this week—in some ways, business will continue as usual—but the brand will be facing an uphill battle after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Sur La Table emphasized in its announcement that it’s "not going out of business," and said it's hoping to "maintain operation in the ordinary course." However, the company has announced plans to close over 50 of its 121 remaining locations that had reopened since July 4. USA Today published a complete list of stores set to close according to the company's bankruptcy filing, which included locations across 23 states and Washington D.C. On Sur La Table's FAQ page, they also state that you can see if your local store is closing on the Find a Store page.
As a silver lining for bargain hunters, Sur La Table states that closing locations will have liquidation sales to clear excess stock, which are expected to last 8 to 12 weeks. This information is also available by searching for individual stores. (An online Sur La Table sale that launched yesterday.)
Despite yesterday's news, Sur La Table stressed that they were already looking ahead. The company stated that they've entered into "a stalking horse asset purchase term sheet" with an investment group, meaning, in layman's terms, that the brand appears set to continue under some form of new ownership. The transition should include everything customers are used to: "retail stores, popular in-person and online cooking classes, and its thriving eCommerce business," the announcement also explained.
"This sale process will result in a revitalized Sur La Table, positioned to thrive in a post COVID-19 retail environment," CEO Jason Goldberger stated. "Sur La Table will have a balance sheet and retail footprint optimized to position the company for a bright future that continues our nearly 50-year tradition of offering high-quality cooking products and experiences to our customers."
Answers to other potential questions: Cooking classes will no longer be offered in stores that are closing, but they are continuing (where allowed during the pandemic) in other locations. Gift cards will continue to be accepted at all locations until August 7 (after which, they should still be valid online and at open stores). Additionally, returns are still being accepted on purchases made before July 6, also until August 7.
Finally, many customers may also be worried about Sur La Table employees. Unfortunately, the news doesn't sound optimistic. "This is the most difficult part of closing stores," the company writes. "Our employees work hard every day to make Sur La Table a special destination for people who love to cook and share good food. We recognize that closing stores will have a major impact on their lives. Our hope is that many of them will continue to work for us in other stores if possible or return to Sur La Table in the future."