NEW YORK — Just five months after a new, contemporary version of Sarah Michaels bath products hit retail shelves, the brand’s parent, Sarah Michaels LLC, was forced into an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware, according to the company. It subsequently filed in Chicago, where Sarah Michaels’ parent, The Hathi Group, is based.

The company, which makes and markets the Sarah Michaels, Freeman and San Francisco Soap beauty brands, said in its May 1 filing that its estimated liabilities are between $10 million and $50 million, the same range as its estimated assets. According to industry estimates, the three brands generated $85 million in 2002 sales. A statement supplied by the company, stated, “Even though the company’s sales have been strong, [we] faced tough hurdles including the K-Mart bankruptcy, excess inventory and problems inherited from previous owners. The company has already secured debtor-in-possession financing and continues to operate including supplying products to customers. The company is currently evaluating all its options including a sale of the entire company or certain brands. Due to the success of the Sarah Michaels’ relaunch and continued strength of the Freeman brand, the brands are expected to continue to thrive in the marketplace.”

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