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State and Nation Business

Mall staple Brookstone seeks bankruptcy cover

MERRIMACK, N.H. – Brookstone, a staple in malls and airports nationwide, is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of its $147 million sale to Spencer Spirit Holdings.

The purveyor of personal massagers, iPad keyboards and other quirky gadgets said Thursday its 240 stores will remain open and business will continue as usual.

The Merrimack, N.H., company announced last week it would be acquired by Spencer after it had filed for bankruptcy protection. Both companies are privately held.

Brookstone, which was punished by more pragmatic shoppers during the recession and then by growing online competition, has watched sales decline sharply. In its most recent quarter, sales declined by more than 7 percent.

In its bankruptcy filing, Brookstone estimated it has liabilities between $100 million and $500 million and assets in the same range.

Spencer Spirit, based in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., also has a strong presence in malls. It sells clothing, jewelry and gag gifts at its 644 Spencer’s stores and Halloween costumes at its Spirit pop-up shops.

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