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LNT GOB underway; Canadian stores will also go 

Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. — Customer traffic appeared brisk but not heavy, and sales stronger than normal, but as the chainwide Linens ’n Things going-out-of-business sale got underway this weekend, it appeared many visitors to this store were scoping out offerings and perhaps waiting for heavier discounts to kick in.

A large “going-out-of-business” banner stretched below the store name outside, as day-workers held up large placards at nearby intersections and the entrances to the Legacy Place shopping center.

The signs screamed 10%-30% off original prices and on several visits over the weekend it appeared roughly one in eight customers carried an LNT purchase upon leaving the store.

In the meantime, Linens yesterday filed for bankruptcy in Canada in order to be able to liquidate its 40 Canadian stores. The company had earlier indicated in U.S. court papers that it intended to liquidate the Canadian subsidiary.

The Canadian stores were profitable and were never taken into bankruptcy when the company filed in the United States. There was hope that they might be sold separately, and they had been offered to several prospective buyers, reportedly including Bed Bath & Beyond very early in the process. But in the end, no one stepped forward to purchase them.

In a prepared statement, interim ceo and chief restructuring officer Michael Gries again blamed a series of external economic and market factors for the liquidation, adding, “This is a very difficult day, especially since our Canadian stores were among the best performing stores.”

With total 2007 sales of $2.8 billion, LNT filed a wind-down budget projecting total sales receipts of $828 million over the next 32 weeks. Including the Canadian stores, it will be shuttering 411 units overall in this final phase.

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