PHILADELPHIA — Nan Duskin, for decades this city’s premier designer specialty store, has filed a Chapter 11 petition in bankruptcy court and plans to reorganize.

Louis N. Marks, chief executive officer of ND Acquisition Inc., the parent company, said the petition was filed to deal with high-cost debt arising from the company’s acquisition of the stores in June of 1992 and to renegotiate leases that are above market levels.

While the company plans to continue operating, the filing underscores the difficulties small, high-end specialty stores have experienced in the Nineties.

Martha’s went into bankruptcy in December 1992 and closed its two New York stores. Lou Lattimore in Dallas, the Sara Fredericks chain and Amen Wardy in Los Angeles all went out of business in the last couple of years.

Nan Duskin, one of the few remaining outlets in the Philadelphia area for upscale and designer apparel, was at one time a major presence at the European designer collections. It catered to the carriage trade for many years. The company listed total assets of $6.2 million. Marks said the largest asset item was inventory of $4.2 million. Liabilities total $6 million, including about $1.7 million due to trade creditors. Sales in 1993 were a bit over $15 million or about double volume in 1992, Marks said.

He added the firm expects to pay merchandise creditors in full over a period of time. He said the Chapter 11 process would best enable the company to restructure its debt, obtain new financing and reset the terms of its store leases.

Nan Duskin, which was founded in 1928, operates three stores, one here, another in Strafford, Pa., and the third in Baltimore. The stores feature European and American designer apparel for men and women, along with shoes, accessories, gifts and cosmetics.

Marks and his sister Marilyn Marks Cooper, who operated Clothes Garden fashion shop in Wynnwood, Pa., took over Nan Duskin in June 1992 and continued to run Clothes Garden as a separate business.

Other investors in ND Acquisition are two doctors, Joel Morganroth and Gail Morrison.

Nan Duskin’s main store, a 30,000-square-foot unit, is in the Rittenhouse Hotel in downtown Philadelphia. The other stores are each 7,500 square feet.