Thursday, July 9, 2020

[CLOSURE ALERT] Sur La Table Shuttering Significant Number of Stores

Sur La Table announced late Wednesday that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and intends to close nearly half of its stores.  The Seattle-based luxury kitchen goods retailer plans to close 51 of its 121 stores.  Separately, the company is looking to sell up to 70 stores to Fortress Investment Group, according to court documents.
The company said the closings are "a result of the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis," but notes it is "not going out of business" and intends "to create happiness for our customers through cooking and sharing good food for many years to come."

The first Sur La Table, French for "on the table," opened in 1972 at Pike Place Market in Seattle, about a year after Starbucks opened their first location in the same market.  The privately held company is the second largest kitchenware retailer in the country behind market leader Williams-Sonoma.  

The store closures will hit metro Atlanta especially hard with the retailer closing its remaining two outposts.  According to the release and confirmed by the Sur La Table website, Sur La Table stores at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead and at North Point Mall in Alpharetta will both close permanently as of August or September.  Both stores feature the company's popular cooking classes with the retailer indicating that class offerings will be discontinued immediately at all closing stores.  

The Phipps Plaza location opened in 2012 where it replaced Williams-Sonoma, which had consolidated its Buckhead operations into an expanded store at Lenox Square.  Sur La Table's North Point store opened in 2014 on the mall's first floor where it replaced a large Gap store following their relocation to Avalon.   

Sur La Table last fall closed its original Atlanta area store at Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody.  The former Sur La Table space, located on the mall's upper floor adjacent to Macy's, subsequently reopened as Akira, a new-to-market women's clothing and footwear retailer.  

News of Sur La Table's closures come just as locals were digesting the disappointing news that locally owned kitchenware retailer The Cook's Warehouse is closing their new-ish store at Peachtree Station in Chamblee.  Company CEO and founder Mary Moore did not cite COVID-19 specifically, but did indicate that "economic pressures" were the reason for the closure.  The company will continue to operate its popular Ansley Mall store as well as its robust ecommerce store.  

Sur La Table's bankruptcy filing came just hours after 200 year-old apparel retailer Brooks Brothers also declared bankruptcy.  The company plans to close about 20% of its 250 stores nationwide.  The company operates three stores in metro Atlanta: Lenox Square in Buckhead, Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody and at Avalon in Alpharetta.  The company also operates a Brooks Brothers Factory Store at the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta in Woodstock.  No announcement was made about where or when store closures could are planned.  

In addition to Sur La Table and Brooks Brothers, Lucky Brand, J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, Tuesday Morning, GNC and J. Crew have all filed for Chapter 11 in recent weeks.  Other companies such as Microsoft and Diane von Furstenberg have not filed for bankruptcy, but have announced plans to close nearly all of their respective retail stores.  

When was the last time you shopped in person at Sur La Table or Brooks Brothers... or ANYWHERE [non grocery] for that matter?  Are you surprised to see Sur La Table close so many stores?   What would you like to see open in place of the Sur La Table stores in Phipps Plaza and at North Point Mall?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

This is disappointing. Such a wonderful store to lose. It will be missed. If things continue like this, we won't have anywhere to shop or eat.

ATL D.D.S. said...

I too will miss Sur La Table. It always had much more practical items than Williams-Sonoma. Next to Home Depot, Sur La Table was my favorite store in which to wander around an look at the merchandise.

Anonymous said...

Sad to see them go and sad that Phipps and Northpoint are losing a great store. I went to the Phipps location back in February and went to the Northpoint location in Dec. Good store with quality products. It is pricey but a great place to get gifts for people that love cooking.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft didn't file for bankruptcy? What a shocker! Thank goodness that trillion dollars is tiding them over...

Anonymous said...

I went to into the Sur La Table store at North Point mall, early 2020, never bought anything except when the Perimeter mall location was doing close out sale. I preferred to go to Williams-Sonoma.

I did get to go to Target this weekend for the first time in 2 months which was a treat, I could I have hours in there, but spent 15 minutes in store to get what I needed.

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