Oct. 30, 2008

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

Holiday shopping season it is not, but sales have come early to Williston this year as one of the town’s largest retail stores is going out of business.


    Observer photo by Tim Simard
Shoppers leave Linens ‘n Things in Maple Tree Place. The store is in the midst of a going out of business sale.

Linens ‘n Things, a nationwide home goods retailer with a location in Maple Tree Place, is going out of business and currently having a massive liquidation sale.

The store sells merchandise for bed, bath, kitchen and home décor.

Richard Kaye, executive vice president with Hilco Merchants Resources, a member of a joint venture group that purchased the company’s assets, said Linens ‘n Things had been having financial difficulties for some time. Stores that were considered “underperforming” had been closed to consolidate assets. Kaye said there was a certain point when the company hoped to get rescue financing, but instead had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May.

An auction was held earlier this month to buy Linens Holding Co., the parent company of the home goods retailer based in Clifton, N.J. Kaye said the only bidder was a joint venture group of investors.

“Nobody else showed up at the auction,” Kaye said.

The joint venture group consists of Hilco Merchant Resources, Gordon Brothers Group, Hudson Capital, SB Capital Group LLC, Great American Group LLC and Tiger/Nassi Group. The group purchased $475 million in assets.

The venture group decided to sell off all inventory and the sale will be finished once every piece of merchandise and equipment is sold, Kaye said. Each Linens ‘n Things will close on its own once inventory is sold and employees will then be laid off, Kaye added.

Kaye expects the Williston sale to last six to 12 weeks, but perhaps closer to six weeks since the holiday shopping season is approaching. Currently, all items are on sale between 10 percent and 30 percent off. Kaye said there were no definite plans to reduce prices further and a price reduction is monitored on a daily basis. Kaye urged shoppers to come in early to get what they need before it sells out.

“From the consumer standpoint, it’s always better to come in earlier,” Kaye said.

Richard Golder, property manager for Maple Tree Place, said he did not know if there was any business interested in leasing the space. A message to the Inland Real Estate Group’s leasing office, which runs the Taft Corners shopping mall, was not returned in time for press deadline.

Kaye said the group would still own the brand name of Linens ‘n Things and would not rule out a future return of the company.

“If history repeats itself, the Linens ‘n Things brand could be back,” Kaye said.