BUST: A Hard Landing as Soft Surroundings Files for Bankruptcy

BUST: A Hard Landing as Soft Surroundings Files for Bankruptcy

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Here we go again…another beloved retailer shutters its brick-and-mortar operations. Soft Surroundings filed for bankruptcy this week.

This MULO (multi-location) women’s clothing brand once had 80 locations physical locations (reduced to 44) and is now shuttering all of them. The company, which released its first catalog in 1999, also sold home goods and accessories.

However, this fall was not as hard as those of some other major retailers because the brand already has a robust online following, and they are selling that part of their business to their competitor — Coldwater Creek.

We are seeing more of those types of deals. Recently bankrupt Bed Bath & Beyond is now operating within Overstock.com. Just because a company files for bankruptcy, the brand may not vanish.

For example, Lord & Taylor which moved its entire retail business to online sales. Some MULO businesses are able to tighten their belts, restructure, and resurface.

Other brands are reducing operating expenses and expanding awareness via store-within-store models.

With $300M in revenue, Soft Surroundings was clearly a brand that shoppers enjoyed. But, like fashion itself, the clothing brand will evolve based on the times and business needs.


Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in Inc.com, the New York Times and Forbes.