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Things Remembered sold, files bankruptcy

WARREN — Personalized gift and keepsake retailer Things Remembered has a sale agreement in place that will keep the brand alive and some stores open.

The company on Wednesday announced it will sell most of its business to Enesco LLC, an Illinois-based retailer of giftware and home decor that intends to operate Things Remembered online, direct mail and business-to-business retail, as well as a portfolio of stores under the Things Remembered brand.

To facilitate the transition, Things Remembered also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday.

Maintaining the Things Remembered brand and some retail operations “will preserve many jobs across Things Remembered stores, home office, fulfillment center and e-commerce operations,” a release announcing the sale and bankruptcy states.

Things Remembered has a fulfillment center in North Jackson and retail stores at the Eastwood Mall in Niles and Southern Park Mall in Boardman.

A spokesman with Gladstone Place Partners, a financial communications firm in New York that issued the news release regarding the sale and bankruptcy, declined to comment if the sale would affect the local stores and distribution center.

Things Remembered has about 400 stores and kiosks in the United States.

“The sale to Enesco offers a compelling path forward for Things Remembered, its customers, employees, creditors, vendors and other stakeholders,” said Nelson Tejada, president and CEO of Things Remembered. “We will now build on our legacy as the leading omnichannel retailer focused on personalized gift merchandise. Among other growth initiatives, we plan to reinvest in our marketing and personalization technology and to reinvent our in-store experience.”

Things Remembered is asking the bankruptcy court for approval for a severance and outplacement program to support impacted employees and incentives for store employees.

The company filed customary first-day motions with the court to make for a smooth transition into bankruptcy and to allow for the continued day-to-day business operations.

Reports of a bankruptcy were circulating. Reuters reported Jan. 23 the company, which employs about 2,500 people in the U.S. and Canada, was hoping to sell the brand and online business during bankruptcy, a move that would preserve hundreds of jobs.

The retailer, which has roughly $120 million of debt, is owned by a consortium of investors including private-equity giant KKR & Co Inc. KKR was a lender alongside other financial firms that forgave debt in exchange for ownership of the struggling chain in 2016, according to the news service.

Enesco is a giftware, home decor and accessories retailer that distributes to specialty card and gift retailers, home decor boutiques, as well as mass-market chains and online retailers. It has subsidiaries worldwide.

rselak@tribtoday.com

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