Fortunoff in trouble?

Store seeking Chapter 11 protection
January 31, 2008 3:41:40 PM PST
A giant merger may be in the works, combining two well-known department stores - Lord and Taylor and Fortunoff.Fortunoff is in trouble, currently seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Long Island reporter Emily Smith has more.

Shoppers can't get enough of Fortunoff. All we had to do was say the name, and we got the same response. It's in a class of its own.

They just have different things," shopper Nancy Grieco said. "Very unusual."

"They're unique in the stuff they have," Dolores Graham said. "You don't find it everywhere else."

The 86-year-old chain, which started in Brooklyn, sells jewelry and a variety of luxury houseware items. The flagship story is in Westbury.

Many customers say they are disappointed to hear that slumping sales and debt might mean Chapter 11 for the chain, which has more than 20 locations.

The company isn't making any projections as to what the future holds, but the New York Times reports Lord and Taylor is a potential bidder.

For customers, the news means heartbreak.

"When I first got married, that's where my mother took me to buy my things," Grieco said.

In a statement sent to Eyewitness News, the company says, "Fortunoff has been and is continuing to work with its financial advisors to consider the complete range of strategic alternatives for the company. We remain committed to serving our customers."

Long Island economist Jack Mandel says this news is just another example of the economic downturn, which he says is affecting the biggest to the smallest.