Chiasso Gets an Offer

Two months after Chicago-based cataloger/retailer Chiasso filed Chapter 11 and announced it would close 10 of its 14 retail stores, the company has signed an asset purchase agreement with CSS Capital LLC.

Northfield, IL-based CSS Capital bid for the direct portion of the business only; per the agreement, Chiasso has already started to close its four remaining stores. The court will grant final approval for the store closings in a hearing on March 20.

CSS Capital, which offered an undisclosed sum, is the first bidder. Two auctions are planned for early April: one for the direct marketing assets and another for the remaining six store leases, which children’s apparel retailer Gymboree has bid on. Chiasso CEO David Marshall says he is trying to find alternative bidders prior to the auction, since the highest purchase price possible will help Chiasso’s creditors.

If the purchase goes through, CSS Capital plans to retain the same merchandising direction and employees, says Marshall, who was offered a position, but says that he plans to leave the company after the deal is closed. But he notes that CSS Capital’s strategy to concentrate solely on direct marketing “is not far off from our previous internal plan to focus on the catalog and the Website to turn around the company.”

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