Linda Lynn of Baltimore Inc., a family-owned chain of women's clothing stores that served the Baltimore area for 51 years, has filed for Chapter 7 liquidation in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore.
The filing Wednesday came almost three weeks after Linda Lynn abruptly closed four suburban stores and consolidated its wares for a closeout sale at its remaining location in Lexington Mall. The downtown store closed Saturday.
Marc Diamand, vice president of Linda Lynn, said that "the economy played a major role" in the demise of the company and "a couple of locations were bleeding us."
"Last year was not a good year," he said. "Thanksgiving didn't materialize. Christmas didn't materialize." He added that the news media hurt retailers by scaring the consumer with gloomy economic news.
Besides the recession, Mr. Diamand said, the company was hamstrung by a general malaise in the fashion industry. "There's not a lot of new fashion out there," he said.
In the absence of new fashion ideas, customers flocked to discount outlets and avoided middle-market stores like Linda Lynn, he said.
Before the suburban closings Dec. 29, Linda Lynn had 60 to 70 employees, Mr. Diamand said.
Mr. Diamand said his company had no choice but to do what it did. He said the company tried to find a liquidator to help pay off creditors but that the effort failed.
"We tried to raise as much cash as we could," he said. "At least our creditors will be able to get something."
Most of the creditors are "trade people" in New York, he said.
The Diamand family's bankruptcy attorney, Harvey M. Lebowitz of Whiteford Taylor & Preston, said customers who did not pick up layaways before the filing will have a priority claim up to a maximum of $900.