A deal is said to be close to being finalized between BKST Holdings and the Hudson Group, which would involve the latter taking over the leases for 30 existing Brookstone stores in U.S. airports.
As part of the agreement, the stores would continue to operate under the Brookstone name and Hudson aims to increase that airport retail footprint to 50 stores, according to sources familiar with the situation. There are also plans to offer Brookstone products in 800 Hudson News stores, they said.
Executives at BKST Brand Holdings, which is owned by Bluestar Alliance, were not available to comment Thursday, according to a company spokeswoman.
A spokesowman for the Hudson Group said Thursday the Hudson team is not able to comment on any rumored mergers and acquistions activity.
All of Brookstone’s remaining freestanding stores are in airports. The gadget-heavy company covers a range of categories including audio and tech, sleep and wellness, travel, home, outdoor and more. Eco-friendly tote bags, mobile projectors, calming weighted blankets and portable meditations seat are among the wide assortment of products.
Bluestar is the owner of the intellectual property assets of many fashion brands that include Tahari, Bebe, Kensie, Michael Bastian and English Laundry, to name a few. Founded by Joseph Gabbay and Ralph Gindi in 2006, the company’s focus is on consumer brands that operate in the areas of wellness, home, travel and entertainment. Bluestar currently manages a portfolio with retail sales of over $2.5 billion.
The Hudson Group has shown interest in Brookstone in the past. In August 2018, Brookstone filed for bankruptcy court protection and subsequently closed about 100 mall-based stores as well as outlet stores. In October 2018, BKST Holdings LLC, a designee of Bluestar, and Apex Digital Inc. paid $72 million for Brookstone’s assets, purchasing it out of bankruptcy. As part of the deal, the buyers maintained the majority of its airport retail stores, distribution center and operating team in New Hampshire. Last fall’s winning offer outdid a competing bid submitted at auction by a partnership of ThreeSixty Group and Hudson Group.
In recent months, Hudson has been evolving with more novel retail concepts. In June, the company opened a combination of a Dunkin’ and Ink by Hudson concept store at Boston’s Logan International Airport. That addition was an offshoot of a 10-year deal between the Hudson Group and the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) and MarketPlace Logan LLC, which will expand the Hudson Group’s total footprint at Logan by 9,000 square feet in the next two years.