NATURE'S ELEMENTS FILES FOR CHAP. 11

NEW YORK--Nature's Elements Holding Corp., citing the effects of a disappointing Christmas season, has filed a Chapter 11 petition seeking to reorganize.
The Bridgewater, N.J.-based company, which operates 50 bath and beauty shops, said it expects to close 13 stores and to open no more locations in 1995.
The firm reported a loss of $625,000 in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 28, compared with a profit of $312,000 in the year-earlier period. Sales in the quarter gained 40.4 percent to $6.2 million from $4.4 million.
For the year, the retailer lost $4.3 million against a loss of $1.8 million the previous year. The latest loss includes a charge of $635,000 relating to the firm's March 1994 initial public offering. Sales in the 12 months were up 38.8 percent to $13 million, from $9.4 million.
In a statement, the company said that while sales jumped in the previous year, expenses --including those associated with opening 17 new stores in October, November and December 1994--soared 55 percent.
Nature's Elements said it has undertaken "significant" cost cutting measures at the corporate and store levels and will use the court-protected reorganization to close several underperforming stores.
In its Chapter 11 petition, filed in bankruptcy court in Newark, N.J., the company listed assets of $12.9 million and liabilities of $4.3 million.
Rocky Smith, senior vice president and chief financial officer, said Monday that the company sought Chapter 11 protection in order to get out of or renegotiate several leases.
"Landlords are reluctant to renegotiate leases in this environment, and unfortunately this is the only way to get them to the table," Smith noted.--Fairchild News Service

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