Samsonite Retail Unit Files For Bankruptcy Protection

MANSFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- Samsonite Company Stores LLC, the U.S. retail unit of the luggage maker, on Wednesday filed for Chapter 11 protection with a prepackaged reorganization plan that includes store closures.

The company said there would be a "significant" reduction in the number of mall-based and other stores as it concentrates its efforts on its more profitable outlet stores. It did not specify how many of its 173 U.S. stores would shut down.

The Mansfield, Mass.-based retailer said in a statement that creditors would receive 100 percent of their claims and that it expected to emerge from court protection within 45 days to 90 days.

Parent company Samsonite Corp. is undergoing its own restructuring, out of court, to cut costs.

"Realigning the company's real estate portfolio will increase profitability, allowing us to further capitalize on growth opportunities and to secure the company's future," said Kyle Gendreau, chief financial officer of the retail unit.

The company said day-to-day operations would continue as is. It plans to seek court approval to continue to honor gift cards, warranties and other customer programs.

Its bankruptcy case was filed in Delaware.

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