Judge OKs sale of Betsey Johnson assets

The Betsey Johnson boutique at Roosevelt Field is

The Betsey Johnson boutique at Roosevelt Field is closing. Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

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A bankruptcy court judge in Manhattan agreed to let the Betsey Johnson women's clothing and accessories chain sell all its assets, an action that suggests most of its stores will close, including its two Long Island locations.

Betsey Johnson Llc., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on April 26, is holding going-out-of-business sales, discounting merchandise by 20 percent to 50 percent in all of its 69 retail stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Hilco Merchant Resources, of Northbrook, Ill., is running the liquidation sales.

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Betsey Johnson, founded by its avant-garde and flamboyant New York designer namesake, has a full-price location in Garden City's Roosevelt Field and an outlet unit at Deer Park's Tanger Outlets at the Arches.

The chain, which also sells its products online and at department stores such as Macy's, has been experiencing sales declines of more than 20 percent at its retail stores since 2007, court documents said.

"The customer who's willing to buy Betsey Johnson is just as bargain hungry as any other customer, so selling a higher-priced product in a boutique store is tricky when it's available somewhere else for less," said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst for The NPD Group, a Port Washington-based market research firm.

Steve Madden Ltd. bought Betsey Johnson's debt in 2010 and now owns the Betsey Johnson brand, whose accessories and sportswear will continue to be available in department stores.

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Betsey Johnson will honor gift cards at stores and its online site through June 1. All sales are final.

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