RI jewelry maker Alex and Ani files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Alex and Ani, the Rhode Island bracelet maker who once enjoyed growing popularity in the retail industry behind spirituality and charm bracelets, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The company, which had been mired in declining sales, lawsuits and internal strife, said it would continue to operate while working with creditors and restructuring during bankruptcy proceedings.

“In 2020, COVID-19 forced the company to suspend its major strategic growth initiatives, temporarily close stores and scale back operations in light of reduced in-store customer demand,” said Robert Trabucco , director of restructuring for Alex and Ani, in a statement. declaration. “By using the process in Chapter 11, we are able to ensure rapid and orderly sizing of our balance sheet and operations.”

Now controlled by a British private equity firm, Alex and Ani have between $ 100 million and $ 500 million in debt owed to hundreds of creditors, according to the filing with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware. The company lists assets in a similar range.

The bankruptcy filing on Wednesday is the latest setback for Alex and Ani, who went from the Cranston startup to the brand conqueror a decade ago.

Carolyn Rafaelian with her father, Ralph Rafaelian, in Alex and Ani's factory space in December 2011.

Founded in 2004 by Carolyn Rafaelian, a University of Rhode Island graduate in her father’s Cinerama jewelry factory, Alex and Ani sold collectible bracelets that would attach to inexpensive stretch charm bracelets.

In 2010, the company hired former State Senator Giovanni Feroce as CEO and over the following years it opened more than 100 stores across the country and bought a Super Bowl ad. Feroce abruptly left the company with most of its leaders in 2014.

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