Sur La Table files for bankruptcy

Upscale cookware company will close nearly half of its US stores

There's no recipe for retail surviving the coronavirus pandemic.

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Sur La Table, the upscale kitchenware store, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday, the company announced.

The Seattle-based retailer, known for its designer cookware and in-store cooking classes, said it will close roughly half of its U.S. stores permanently after being forced to temporarily shutter in March, like hundreds of businesses across the country, due to COVID-19. Roughly 20 percent of the company's staff was laid off permanently last month.

 A woman walks past a Sur La Table shop in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

The company said in a press release it's entering a "stalking horse" agreement with investment firm Fortress for a potential sale that will include Sur La Table's retail stores, in-person and online cooking classes and e-commerce business.

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"This sale process will result in a revitalized Sur La Table, positioned to thrive in a post-COVID-19 retail environment. 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," Jason Goldberger, CEO of Sur La Table said in a statement.

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Sur La Table's bankruptcy filing follows a slew of brick-and-mortar chain store closings and Chapter 11 filings in recent months including Brooks Brothers, JC Penney, Neiman Marcus and J. Crew among others.

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