SANDPOINT - Coldwater Creek employees expect to receive news today about the company's future, according to several inside sources.
Employees are unsure what to expect following weeks of speculation and worry. The concerns are partially prompted by articles from several national media outlets, which indicate that the Sandpoint women's apparel company is preparing to file for bankruptcy.
The most worrying aspect is the pure ambiguity of the situation, employees said. If the company announces it's closing down, there's no telling whether any employees will be held on to help the process. Furthermore, there's no information available about severance packages or other benefits, they said.
A Wall Street Journal article published March 31 kicked speculation over Coldwater Creek's fate into overdrive when it reported that company officials were preparing to file for bankruptcy. Another article published Monday by Bloomberg News indicated the company intends to liquidate assets following the bankruptcy filing. In both cases, the information was attributed to unnamed individuals familiar with the situation.
The Wall Street Journal article triggered a nose-dive in stock prices, which bottomed out March 31 at $0.16 per share. When company officials declined to comment or issue a statement denying the rumors, stock prices failed to show much improvement, finishing Thursday at $0.19 per share. The company has also failed to release its Q4 earnings, which are typically reported by the end of March.
The first rumblings of trouble sounded in October, when company officials announced they were exploring strategic alternatives to reform the business, including potentially selling to another party. Later, Coldwater Creek slashed 20 percent of its corporate workforce expenses.
The news is troubling for a company that has historically been a tremendous supporter of local organizations and nonprofits, including the Panhandle Alliance for Education and the Festival at Sandpoint.
Coldwater Creek's struggles reflect a broader difficulty in the industry, as several similar companies have announced bankruptcy filings in recent months.