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Crown Crafts to liquidate Churchill Weavers

Gonzales, La. – Unable to cut a deal to sell its money-losing Churchill Weavers hand-woven throw business, Crown Crafts Inc. said it will close the century-old artisanal operation that has steadily lost ground in recent years to low-price imports.

In January, Crown Crafts said it had reached a non-binding agreement to sell the carriage-trade throw producer to Bedford Cottage, a fledgling New England throw supplier founded by former managers of Kennebunk Weavers. But that deal fell through, said E. Randall Chestnut, Crown Crafts ceo, and Churchill workers were told today the company "has begun the process of liquidating Churchill."

The company is expected to will cease operations by the end of March.

Crown Crafts said the closing "is not expected to have a significant financial impact" during the current third fiscal quarter just completed, or the fourth fiscal quarter which ends in March. The company said it expects to generate about $600,000 from the sale of receivables, inventories and other assets, which will be used to cover liquidation costs of about $225,000. More cash will be generated from the sale of Churchill's land, buildings and equipment.

"We regret that we have been forced to make the tough decision to close a company as old and respected as Churchill. However, Churchill has been unprofitable for the past few years and efforts by management to fend off competition from imports have been unsuccessful," said Chestnut.

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