MINERAL WELLS, W.Va. — Questions about the financial future of Coldwater Creek, the women’s apparel retailer first formed as a catalog company in 1984, continued to swirl Tuesday.
Bloomberg’s Lauren Coleman-Lochner told MetroNews “Talkline” the company was expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy “at any minute,” a move that would likely lead to liquidation.
“There’s always the possibility that some white knight comes forward. It doesn’t happen very often,” Coleman-Lochner said of a possible buyer. “At this point, there’s no one who really would want to rescue the company.”
In addition to stores at the Charleston Town Center Mall and Morgantown’s Suncrest Towne Center, Coldwater Creek also operates its East Coast distribution center along Interstate 77 in Mineral Wells in Wood County.
The site opened in 1999 and a clearance outlet was added during an expansion in 2007.
Depending on the season, between 300 and 800 people have worked at the distribution center. In 2013, Coldwater Creek—which is based in Sandpoint, Idaho—was the 10th-largest private employer in Wood County.
“That’s the No. 1 issue. No matter how many jobs there are right now, that’s always a consideration for us,” said Bob Newell, the mayor of Parkersburg.
As for the distribution center, Newell said the Wood County Development Authority owns the building and leases it to Coldwater Creek.
“The good news is it’s a very high-tech distribution center and, if you have a 500-mile radius around that, it reaches about two-thirds of the population of the country. So it’s a very viable operation and building,” said Newell.
Coleman-Lochner said Coldwater Creek has not been profitable since 2007 and actively started seeking buyers five months ago. “It’s a fashion-driven business so, if your brand is not considered compelling, then people go elsewhere and, on top of that, consumer spending hasn’t been great,” she said.
If the company liquidates it will be the third clothing chain to do so recently, joining Dots LLC and Loehmann’s.