Business

Beauty Brands declares bankruptcy weeks after shuttering stores, plans to sell assets

A brief history of Beauty Brands, founded in Kansas City

Beauty Brands was founded in Kansas City in 1995 and grew to more than 50 stores. But it later faced competition from stores like Ulta.
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Beauty Brands was founded in Kansas City in 1995 and grew to more than 50 stores. But it later faced competition from stores like Ulta.

Beauty Brands, a salon and spa retailer launched in Kansas City in 1995, has filed for bankruptcy.

Just weeks after announcing the closing of 25 stores and reduction of corporate staff, Beauty Brands on Sunday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

At the same time, the company has entered into what’s known in the bankruptcy world as a stalking horse bid arrangement to sell its operating assets to Illinois-based Hilco Merchant Resources LLC, absent a higher and better offer from another bidder. Any sale of Beauty Brands’ assets would have to be confirmed by a bankruptcy judge.

Beauty Brands’ 33 remaining stores in 10 states will continue operating, including its 14 locations in Kansas City. Those include ones on the Country Club Plaza and the Legends Outlet Mall in Kansas City, Kan.

“As we move through the process, it will be business as usual at our 33 stores that remain open as we pursue a sale transaction,” said Caryn Lerner, chief executive of Beauty Brands, in a statement. “Our objective is to complete a sale of our 33 stores and emerge from Chapter 11 in a strong position and move forward as a successful brand.”

The company had no further comment on Sunday’s bankruptcy filing.

Beauty Brands was founded by Bob Bernstein, whose family helped found local advertising firm Bernstein-Rein, which was best known for its former longstanding advertising relationship with Walmart Stores.

The Bernstein family sold majority interest in the company in 2014 to a private firm in California. Beauty Brands’ corporate presence remained in Kansas City just off the Plaza.

In 2009, Beauty Brands had 52 stores in 11 states.

Beauty Brands’ bankruptcy petition lists between $10 million and $50 million in assets, as well as between $10 million and $50 million in liabilities. Many of its unsecured creditors are vendors.

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Steve Vockrodt is an award-winning investigative journalist who has reported in Kansas City since 2005. Areas of reporting interest include business, politics, justice issues and breaking news investigations. Vockrodt grew up in Denver and studied journalism at the University of Kansas.


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