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Decreased Mall Traffic Takes Another Casualty

Brookstone files bankruptcy
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2018 1:59 PM CDT
Brookstone is closing its mall stores.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

(Newser) – The "continued deterioration of traditional mall traffic" has taken another casualty. This time, it's Brookstone, purveyor of various and sundry gadgets and gifts, which will close all of its 101 mall locations in the US as it files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, CNBC reports. Brookstone's 35 airport locations and e-commerce site will continue to operate. It’s the second bankruptcy filing for Brookstone. The first was in 2014, according to CNN Money. At that time, a Chinese consortium bought the business for $136 million. In a statement, CEO Piau Phang Foo called the decision to close the stores "difficult." Brookstone says it will sell its airport stores, which it says are performing well, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A former Brookstone executive tells CNN Money the firm was "an amazing store company, but we didn't have our eyes on the ball the right way digitally." Brookstone, which has operated since 1965, has long depended on foot traffic in malls to attract customers. Still, for many, the stores were more of a hangout than a place to spend money. One person tells the Journal he'd use Brookstone's massage chairs to relax for a bit while at the mall. “I always wondered, how do they make money? I never saw anyone buying anything.” Many other mall retailers are in bad shape, with companies such as The Limited, Wet Seal, and Bon-Ton also filing for bankruptcy protection as online shopping continues to increase. Mall vacancies are reportedly at a six-year high. (Read more Brookstone stories.)

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