By  on March 3, 2006

MONTREAL — Cornell Trading here has closed its U.S. operations and shut 79 stores that operated under the April Cornell banner.

The private company blamed mounting debts for the decision and is expected to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation. Cornell Trading said its Canadian operations, with 29 stores under the La Cache banner, is a separate entity and would continue to operate.

A recorded message at the company's U.S. headquarters in Williston, Vt., stated "with regret" that the U.S. operations had ceased at the end of February and nothing more would be shipped from a Plattsburgh, N.Y., warehouse. The message added that the closing did not affect Canadian operations.

Cornell said in January that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and was looking for a four- to six-month reprieve to recover from a few years of financial difficulties. But earlier this week, the company said it didn't think it would survive as its financing was cut off.

Cornell Trading was founded in Montreal in 1975 as a boutique by designer April Cornell and husband Chris. The company specializes in silk-screened floral prints for clothing and linens inspired by travels to places such as India and Afghanistan, and manufactures in China and India.

In addition to its retail operations, Cornell manufactures garments for other retailers and its Canadian operations are expected to continue shipping to those retailers.

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