By  on January 22, 2009

Christian Bernard Jewelers has begun liquidation sales at its 15 stores.

The retailer’s board closed the units Dec. 26 and filed a Chapter 7 petition for liquidation in a bankruptcy court in Newark, N.J. Under the terms of the court-approved plan, the trustee in charge of the bankruptcy will oversee the reopening of the stores and the rehiring of some sales associates to handle the liquidation, which began Jan. 20.

The retailer said that during the inventory and asset liquidation sales, the chain will be operated by a joint venture consisting of Tiger Capital, Boston; The Gordon Co., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; SB Capital Group, Great Neck, N.Y., and Bobby Wilkerson Inc., Stuttgart, Ark. Chief executive officer Isabelle Fabian and the board are no longer involved.

The chain has inventory valued at $10 million, although there are disputes with vendors about whether $1.3 million of inventory had been delivered on a consignment basis, according to an affidavit filed by the trustee. Christian Bernard’s primary secured lender is Bank of America, which is said to be owed $3.6 million. The retailer operated stores in seven states and Washington, D.C., which carried product from designers such as Hearts on Fire, Feraud, Guy Laroche, Konstantino, Pandora, Ritani and Verragio.

The liquidation is expected to last 10 weeks, according to the affidavit.

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