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Auction to determine fate

Michele SanFilippo -- Home Textiles Today, August 2, 2004

This week may determine the fate of how Sure Fit will continue operating in the future, as the company prepares for a 363 auction on Tuesday, Aug. 3.

The deadline for all qualified bids to be submitted to Sure Fit's legal counsel was today. A winning bid is expected to be announced by end-of-day Tuesday, while the court hearing to approve the sale is slated for Thursday.

As was the case with last October's Pillowtex auction, the 363 sale encourages qualified bidders to enter into the running to purchase Sure Fit as a whole, but doesn't guarantee that it won't be auctioned off in parts.

"Our intention is to get a good working partner, not to liquidate. We want to sell the company to a financial partner who will allow us to continue operating as Sure Fit," said Liz Mandracchia, senior vice president of marketing at Sure Fit.

"We know that the Sure Fit brand really means a lot to customers and that our products have a tremendous amount of value, recognition and reputation in the home furnishings arena," added Mandracchia.

Sure Fit had recently come close to announcing a potential partnership with a publicly held firm that was to invest $25 million to $30 million in the slipcover manufacturer over the next six months and ultimately take over the company, but the deal dissolved about two weeks ago, according to Mandracchia.

"Ever since the deal fell through, we have been meeting with several investment groups and possible partners, many of whom have experience in sales, marketing and manufacturing for the home textiles industry," she explained. She stated that company executives are remaining very hopeful as to the outcome of the impending auction.

Contingent upon the result of the auction, SureFit's reorganization plan will need to be submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York on Sept. 3.

Since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 7, Sure Fit has been trying to trim costs and consolidate its facilities.

Currently, it is in the process of closing down its sewing plant in Hanover Township, Pa. Slated to close by Sept. 23, the shutdown will result in the layoff of 180 employees.

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