Locations of brookstone stores

Brookstone is filing for bankruptcy and closing all of its stores


Brookstone, founded in New Hampshire in 1965, is closing all 102 of its mall locations. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP) By Abha BhattaraiAbha Bhattarai Reporter covering the retail industry August 2, 2018

Brookstone, the mall chain synonymous with massage chairs and other quirky novelties, said Thursday it had filed for bankruptcy and would be closing all 102 of its stores.

The bankruptcy — the company’s second in four years — comes after years of declining traffic to U.S. shopping malls. Brookstone also operates 35 airport stores, which it is looking to sell. It was not immediately clear how many employees would be affected by the closures. The company is owned by Sanpower, a Chinese conglomerate that bought Brookstone for $173 million at a 2014 bankruptcy auction.

The company, founded in 1965 as a mail-order business, got its start selling dental clamps, dovetail saws and other specialty tools. It soon expanded to novelty items including “un-dullable” kitchen knives and self-watering plant pots, and in 1973 opened its first physical location, in New Hampshire. In the decades since, Brookstone became a staple of U.S. malls, offering shoppers a distraction — and often, a resting place — as they milled about.

But in recent years, the business has struggled to keep up as more Americans shop online. Specialty stores have struggled, analysts said, as mainstream retailers such as Amazon.com and Target expand their selection of quirky gadgets and other novelties. Brookstone competitor Sharper Image filed for bankruptcy in 2008, while mail-order business SkyMall followed suit in 2015. (Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, owns The Washington Post.)

“Brookstone was quite innovative in their day in a category that’s become ubiquitous,” said Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia Business School and the former chief executive of Sears Canada. “Customers today go into a Brookstone and say, ‘Hey, this is cool.’ And then they check their phones and see that Amazon is selling 12 variations of that item, often for less money.”

Although the retailer has helped launch several household brands, including Tempur-Pedic, iRobot and Fitbit, it was unable to capitalize on the success of those products, said Sucharita Kodali, a retail analyst for Forrester Research. “Anytime Brookstone had a bestseller, it got commoditized and sold by competitors,” she said. “Honestly, I’m shocked they’ve been around for as long as they have.”

In its bankruptcy filing, Brookstone cited debts of up to $500 million against assets of $50 million to $100 million.

Several mall retailers, including Nine West, Claire’s and Gymboree, have filed for bankruptcy in the past year, as heavy debt loads and increased competition continue to batter the industry.

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Did you know that a 60-minute massage has the same effect on your body as a full night of sleep?

But with so many massage chairs sold every year, you should make sure you choose one that can actually provide this relaxing effect.

Update: Brookstone No Longer a Player in the Massage Chair Space. Please Read This Massage Chair Guide Here to Find Out What Models I Recommend or Check Out #1 Rated Model HERE

The good news: we have the best Brookstone massage chair reviews below, that can provide relief, energize and relax you courtesy of the best massage programs.

But the paradox of choice is a real thing: the more options we have, the more difficult it is to choose something we like.

Hopefully, our Brookstone massage chair comparison will help you make the best choice.

Even if some of these chairs have been discontinued by Brookstone, you might still find them on other websites.

Still, in case you can’t find them, we’re providing some top alternatives below, so read along!

Table of Contents

About Brookstone Company

Brookstone is a reputable company that started in the ‘60s. Brookstone Inc. quickly became successful, evolving from a small company that advertised their business in the classifieds to a real retail mammoth and an American icon.

Among their wide range of products, Brookstone also retails massage chairs, all of which are manufactured in China.

That’s why many massage chairs are priced well, but they’re also quality products, meaning they’re functional but don’t have any truly exceptional features.

Most online reviewers never complain about the basic functions or operation of the Brookstone massage chairs, which are pretty good.

However, they do complain about day shipping or delivery issues depending on where they made the purchase.

Keep in mind that there are only few other reliable brands in the current market worth considering such as: Infinity (link), Human Touch (link), Brookstone (link), Titan Massage Chair (Osaki is the same company)

Best Brookstone Massage Chair Review (Models & Alternatives)

The Brookstone massage chairs are all quality products, with plenty of massage options, but we’re also providing comparisons with some top alternatives.

The Energize 3D Massage Chair

This model is one of the high-end zero gravity massage chairs in the Brookstone brand, with a plethora of features that recommend it as the best.

Just like all the other models reviewed here, it’s a quality chair, though it’s more lightweight than similarly-priced chairs.

Among the features that recommend it, you get the Energize 3D sports Bluetooth speakers and MP3 support that is otherwise lacking from more affordable Brookstone chairs.

The L-Track massage is long, and it’s combined with 3D quad rollers, body scanning, zero-gravity, and quality air massage.

There are 62 airbags in the Energize 3D, which has 14 built-in massage programs, including zone and spot functions.

The main massage techniques you can benefit from are Kneading, Tapping, Rolling, Clapping, Thai, and Shiatsu.

The Energize 3D chair features a space-saving design, controls for the air massage intensity and rollers, but doesn’t have temperature control.

PROS

  • Lumbar, calf, and feet heat
  • Vigorous massage experience
  • Ergonomic
  • Plenty of auto-programs and massage techniques

CONS

  • No temperature control

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Summary: The flagship model of the Brookstone brand, the Energize 3D has the most functions and advantages in this line.

The Alternative – Human Touch Novo XT

Human Touch Novo XT is another high-end massage chair, promising a customizable, life-like experience thanks to advanced massage features.

With a space-saving design and certified by chiropractors, the Novo XT offers good therapeutic benefits.

Much like the Energize 3D, this massage chair offers L-track massage, but some users complain that the track can’t reach all the way to their hamstrings.

Other similar features are zero-gravity, foot-and-calf massage, albeit the rollers are a bit intense and full body stretch.

Conversely, the Novo XT offers just lumbar heat, no body scan, features 36 airbags, and its Bluetooth music system is not nearly as good.

However, it has 35 included massage programs to help ease the pain of sciatica, arthritis and other chronic pain, plus a 5-year warranty, as opposed to just 2 years for the Energizer 3D. Read out post here for more Human Touch chair reviews.

The Alternative – Luraco i7 Plus

Another high-end alternative is Luraco i7 Plus, with the advantaged of being manufactured in the USA. It is in all of my research is the best zero gravity massage chair right now!

The Luraco i7 Plus seems better suited for relaxation and has a few similar features with the Novo XT, such as 5 levels of massage intensity, zero gravity, and 5-year warranty.

Both the Luraco i7 Plus and the Novo XT are heavier than the Energizer 3D and have a poorer music system.

Unlike the Novo XT, the Luraco i7 plus has a memory option on the remote control, includes body scan, offers heat therapy for the lumbar area plus the feet and calves.

On the other hand, the Luraco i7 Plus doesn’t have an L-track, and it’s also quite bulky.

The Renew 2 3D Massage Chair

The Renew 2 3D massage chair is the new and improved version of the Renew 3D, but we’re not so sure on the improvement part.

With similar functionalities, the Renew 2 3D features 8 auto-programs and 5 massage techniques, including Kneading, Tapping, Kneading & Tapping, Rolling, Shiatsu.

There are 42 included airbags which offer a quality air massage.

We love the stellar body stretch and zero-gravity, while we can only appreciate the design of the Renew 2 as modern.

Other features include lumbar heat, L-track massage, and a 2-year warranty.

The remote is easy to use, which shows user-friendliness, but the chair is bulkier than the Energizer 3D.

PROS

  • Great air massage
  • Versatile
  • Easy to personalize
  • Stellar body stretch
  • Shiatsu massage chair

CONS

  • No foot massage
  • No calf heat
  • Bulky

Summary: The Renew 2 3D is a great chair to reduce back pain and offer stress relief.

The Alternative – Kahuna LM 6800

The Kahuna 6800 offers an efficient, almost life-like massage, and it’s a popular choice in the under $2000 category.

FDA-certified, this massage chair is versatile and is feature-packed.

Instead of an L-track, the Kahuna sports a hybrid massage track that can give you a head to toe massage.

There are 6 auto-programs for the Kahuna, 2 short of the Renew 2 3D, but there are 3 stages of zero gravity and smart body scan.

Besides, the Kahuna features air massage technology for the whole body and offers a yoga stretching program that can compete with the Renew’s full body stretch option.

Besides, the Kahuna is space saving, offers dual foot rollers and has a 3-year warranty.

Another difference is made by the heat therapy function, considering the Kahuna offers heating therapy on both the lower back and legs.

Otherwise, it has the exact same manual massage techniques as the Renew 2.

Brookstone Renew 3D Zero Gravity Massage Chair

The Renew 3D is a robust chair, situated in the middle price range and sporting basic massage features that make it a good choice.

The L-track design allows its rollers to massage you from shoulders to hamstrings.

There are two advanced massage techniques, Thai and Shiatsu, along with the generic kneading, tapping, clapping and rolling.

Another big nod in its favor is courtesy of the 30 included airbags, which offer a quality air massage.

There are plenty of customization options, courtesy of the 9 built-in programs, and you can adjust the speed and intensity of the massage.

The 3D roller technology means the rollers can move almost like human hands all along your back, while the zero-G seating augments this experience.

Another nice touch is the lumbar and calf heat, especially for people with chronic leg pain, but the best feature of this chair is the foot massage.

Other features include body stretching, body scanning, zone, and spot massage options, but there’s nothing special about them.

Besides, the remote seems a bit difficult to use at first.

PROS

  • Robust
  • Thai and Shiatsu massage
  • Easy to customize
  • Great foot massage

CONS

  • No special features
  • The remote requires a bit of learning

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Summary: The Renew 3D is our top choice for a foot massage, but it’s a pretty basic chair.

Rock & Recline

The most affordable massage chair model so far, the Rock & Recline is a small chair that does as its name suggests: it rocks, and it reclines.

A compact, affordable and lightweight chair, the Rock & Recline is not suited for tall or broad-shouldered people.

Besides, it only has a 1-year warranty as opposed to the other models here.

This entry-level chair sports a lot of features that its more expensive counterparts have, such as the L-track design and lumbar heat, though there’s no heat control.

The quad rollers give a vigorous massage, but they’re not 3D.

There are 4 built-in programs, zone massage mode, and target massage.

In fact, you can interrupt an ongoing program to keep the rollers focused on a sore spot, which is great.

The massage techniques used are Shiatsu, Tapping, Rolling, but keep in mind that the zone massage mode is a limited feature.

Moreover, there are no airbags, no zero-gravity, and you can’t adjust the massage intensity or duration.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Light
  • Basic, but quality massage
  • Zone massage
  • It rocks

CONS

  • No airbags
  • No body stretch
  • No zero-G
  • No adjustments for the massage intensity/ duration
  • For petite users
  • No 3D rollers

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Summary: The Rock & Recline massage chair is a basic, affordable model, which gives a quality massage. Don’t forget that it’s the only one that rocks!

The Alternative – Kahuna LM 6800

The Kahuna LM 6800 is a good alternative for the Rock & Recline too, considering they’re in the same price range.

In fact, the Kahuna could be considered a lot better with the one disadvantage that it can’t rock.

Other than that, the Kahuna is FDA-certified, it has two more built-in programs and 3 stages of zero gravity.

While the Rock & Recline has no body stretch option, the Kahuna excels in this regard, especially thanks to the yoga stretch program.

Besides, the Kahuna uses the space-saving technology, unlike the Rock & Recline, although you can’t really complain considering the R&R is pretty compact.

The Kahuna can also accommodate people with larger body types and offers both lumbar and calf-and-feet heat.

Another advantage is that the Kahuna offers two more massage techniques: Kneading and Kneading& Tapping.

Brookstone Signature

Brookstone Signature is a product launched in partnership with the reputable Japanese firm Inada.

It’s no wonder that this chair’s best feature is the Shiatsu massage you can get.

To make this happen, the body-scanning technology used comes with a surprise: the automatic Shiatsu point detection.

Another advantage is the 76 air cells that cover your whole body for a complete air massage.

There are 18 pre-programmed sessions, 4 more than the Energizer 3D has to offer, but the best one is by far the Twist, which uses chiropractic moves to ease lower body pain like sciatica.

This chair is versatile and can fit athletes and regular people alike, but its massages are quite vigorous.

Its best feature is the OCTET® dual-mechanism massage system with two 3D rollers that give the best neck massage, much like that of a Shiatsu master.

Besides, the rollers’ intensity can be adjusted so that you can get a deep tissue massage.

PROS

  • Best Shiatsu massage
  • Great neck massage
  • Lots of air cells
  • Chiropractic-like moves
  • Versatile
  • Customizable
  • Deep kneading

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Vigorous massage

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Summary: The Brookstone Signature is the best chair to get if you don’t want to hire a personal Shiatsu therapist.

Brookstone Recover 3D Zero Gravity Massage Chair

The Brookstone Recover 3D is the best choice for therapeutic massages, especially if you’re in a hurry because you can get the full body massage in 6 minutes, with the zero-gravity option.

Just like the Energizer 3D, the Recover 3D has 14 built-in massage sessions to twist, flex, energize, soothe, extend and stretch.

The body scan option delivers a personalized massage, and you can target your whole body.

Hint: the neck and stress relief massages are the best.

There are night and day programs, as well as specific massage techniques like Clapping, Rolling and Kneading, or the most advanced Thai and Shiatsu.

With 50 powerful air nodules, an L-track system and 3D massage rollers, you can ease chronic pain and improve circulation.

Another benefit is shoulder width adjustment, and you also get heat therapy for your back, legs, and feet.

However, the return fees are pretty high, and the 2-year limited warranty could be better, though you can buy the 3-year service repair plan.

PROS

  • User-friendly
  • Therapeutic massage benefits
  • Highly customizable
  • Great air massage

CONS

  • High return fees
  • Warranty could be better

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Summary: The Brookstone Recover 3D is better suited for therapeutic purposes, and it’s highly customizable.

Brookstone ReActMassage Chair

The Brookstone ReAct is another basic massage chair in the Brookstone portfolio.

The best features it has are the deep-kneading Shiatsu massage nodes that have a quite therapeutic effect on soring muscles.

The L-track design helps you get a full-body massage, but there are just 2 built-in programs: full body and back.

Although this chair features lumbar heat, it’s not the most stellar heat therapy on the market.

On the other hand, we love the compact design, easy to use control panel and neck support pillow.

Even if this chair is lightweight and can fit in any room in your home, it can’t fit all body types.

Tall people, especially those taller than 6’, don’t get the full benefits of the neck massage.

PROS

  • Light
  • Compact
  • Basic options
  • Good Shiatsu massage

CONS

  • Not the best lumbar heat therapy
  • For petite users

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Summary: The Brookstone ReAct is a good massage chair for sore muscles, especially thanks to the Shiatsu technique.

Conclusion on Brookstone Massage Chairs

Not all Brookstone chairs are available on the market now, and that’s why we aimed to offer you valuable alternatives.

While the best option from Brookstone is the Energize 3D because it has the fewest disadvantages, all Brookstone chairs are good for their purposes.

For instance, the Energize 3D is a versatile chair that can be used for therapeutic and stress-reducing purposes, while the Renew 2 3D excels at its air massage.

On the other hand, the Kahuna 6800 is the most feature-packed massage chair in the low price range.

The Novo XT and Luraco i7 Plus can compete in the high-end range, with more built-in programs, incorporated music system, and better warranties than the Kahuna. As an alternative the TOP brand to consider as well (especially their all time best sellers such as 8500 and 8500×3) is Infinity therapeutic.

That said, which Brookstone massage chair will you want to buy and why? Which of the Brookstone alternatives did you like best? Let me know!

In singularly unsurprising news, Brookstone has filed for bankruptcy. The company will shutter its remaining 101 mall storefronts, officially closing out an era that began its fade years ago. Even if you won’t mourn its disappearance—even if you haven’t stepped inside a mall since the Mallrats era—it’s worth a moment of appreciation, and a full accounting of what’s been lost.

Brookstone debuted in 1965, a year after the Beatles first came to the United States, and a year before Star Trek boldly took it where no TV show had gone before. It was born as a catalog, a sort of proto-Amazon, promising “hard to find tools” within its pages. The stores came later, in the early 70s, eventually becoming as endemic to suburban shopping malls as Auntie Anne’s and Claire’s and that arcade with the double-screened X-Men game.

When you think of Brookstone now, you think of its massage chairs. How could you not? That’s what got you in the door, after an enervating hour of roaming the Borders aisles and soaking in the cologne at Abercrombie & Fitch. Brookstone offered a vibrating oasis with heated lumbar support.

It was more, though. During the height of the mall era, Brookstone carried gadgets that were both sublime and absurd, often at the same time. Before Bluetooth’s ubiquity, it sold wireless headphones with a range that barely encompassed a dorm room. In the aughts, you could nab a self-contained sea monkey habitat that looks like an orb from Labyrinth. And of course there were, and still are, the foot baths.

During the height of the mall era, Brookstone carried gadgets that were both sublime and absurd, often at the same time.

“Brookstone has always been a place of discovering new things,” says Brookstone public relations director Paul Donovan.

That includes some eventual mainstream hits as well; Brookstone was among the first to carry Parrot drones and iRobot vacuums, Tempur-Pedic beds and Fitbit wearables. But its main appeal was that sense of discovery, the joy of the inessential. What do you get the person who has everything? Something so niche from Brookstone—a “fermentation crock” designed specifically for sauerkraut, say—that it’s guaranteed to delight, or at the very least to surprise.

“Brookstone offers a number of unique and innovate products created by third parties who—prior to their relationship with Brookstone—do not have access to wide distribution channels,” the company wrote in its bankruptcy filing. In other words, the weird little gadgets and toys that remind you that tech doesn’t have to conform to perfectly chamfered rectangles. It can be janky and odd and unexpected, and all the more fun for it. “Brookstone has always been a place you go when you don’t know what you want,” says Donovan.

To be clear, not all of that is going away. This isn’t even Brookstone’s first bankruptcy. It’ll retain its online presence, and its 35 airport stores will remain open. It’s not the same, though. You go to a Brookstone at the airport out of necessity; it just happens to sell the nearest pair of headphones or two-tone neck pillow. It was discovery that brought you to the Brookstone at the mall.

That will hold true until the remaining locations shutter. But the long collapse of the shopping mall in the US is well-documented. Brookstone isn’t its first victim, and won’t be its last. If anything, it’s remarkable that it held on so long. Its contemporary, Sharper Image, shut down its last 86 stores in the summer of 2008.

‘Brookstone has always been a place you go when you don’t know what you want.’

Brookstone PR director Paul Donovan

Something else may be at work in Brookstone’s retreat as well. Losing foot traffic surely was the knockout blow, but its online and airport sales dropped steadily from 2015 to 2017 as well. It might be this: When Brookstone reigned, all gadgets were a little weird, a little risky. Not everything had a chip in it. But over the last decade, increasingly commoditized hardware has ceded the spotlight to software, to systems. In a world like that, Brookstone’s oddities and innovations have a hard time breaking through.

Still, Donovan sees opportunities ahead. The company has an airport store redesign on the way, and traditional retail operations still active in China.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Hudson Group (NYSE: HUD), a Dufry company and leader in North American travel retail, today announced it has signed an agreement to acquire assets related to the operation of Brookstone stores in U.S. airports from Apex Digital, Inc. Hudson has also obtained the right to be the exclusive airport retailer to operate Brookstone stores through a license agreement with Bluestar Alliance, LLC, owner of the Brookstone brand and trademarks.

Brookstone is an established American brand well known for its unique selection of innovative products in the travel, wellness, home and entertainment categories. As part of the agreement, Hudson will also have the exclusive right to sell select Brookstone merchandise in its travel convenience stores.

The agreement covers 34 airport stores, of which 30 are currently open and operating. Of these 34 stores, 33 stores are in airports where Hudson has existing operations.

“The addition of Brookstone to our already diverse portfolio of branded concepts further strengthens our retail offering and nicely complements our travel convenience business,” said Roger Fordyce, Hudson Group CEO. “We are pleased Bluestar has entrusted Hudson to grow Brookstone’s brand across U.S. airports, which underscores our strong reputation of successfully operating branded and specialty stores in the highly-regulated travel retail environment.”

Joey Gabbay, CEO of Bluestar Alliance, owner and manager of the Brookstone brand, said, “We are proud to announce our new partnership with Hudson Group, the preeminent leader in the industry, who will now operate, manage and most importantly, grow our Brookstone branded retail footprint in North America.”

Added Ralph Gindi, COO of Bluestar Alliance, “We look forward to the exciting continued expansion of the Brookstone brand under the guidance of our new, best in class partner, Hudson Group.”

About Hudson Group
Hudson Group (NYSE: HUD), a Dufry Company and one of the largest travel retailers in North America, is committed to enhancing the travel experience for over 300,000 travelers every day in the continental United States and Canada. The Company is anchored by its iconic Hudson, Hudson News and Hudson Bookseller brands and operates over 1,000 duty-paid and duty-free stores in 89 locations, including airports, commuter terminals, hotels and some of the most visited landmarks and tourist destinations in the world. Our wide range of store concepts include travel essentials and convenience stores, bookstores, duty-free shops, branded specialty stores, electronics stores, and quick-service food and beverage outlets. For more information, visit www.hudsongroup.com and www.dufry.com.

About Brookstone
Brookstone wellness, entertainment, and travel products are fun to discover, smart to use and beautiful in design. Brookstone products are available at 30 Brookstone retail locations throughout the U.S., online at Brookstone.com and through select premium retailers worldwide. The Brookstone brand is owned and managed by Bluestar Alliance, LLC.

About Bluestar Alliance, LLC
Bluestar Alliance, LLC owns, manages, and markets a portfolio of consumer brands that span across many tiers of distribution from luxury to mass market with a heavy emphasis on department store retail brands. Bluestar Alliance specializes in licensing, branding and marketing consumer brand companies through extensive relationships with leading retailers, brand licensing manufacturers and a network of media and strategic partners. Bluestar Alliance’s current international and domestic partners offer the opportunity to take a niche brand to a visible worldwide lifestyle brand.

Brookstone files for bankruptcy, will close all mall stores

Work is done on a light fixture at the Brookstone shop at the new Terminal B at the Sacramento International Airport in Sacramento, Calif on Sept. 12, 2011. Brookstone, the ubiquitous seller of cool but largely unneeded things, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection again. The specialty gift store said in a filing on Aug. 2, 2018, that it had assets of $50 million to $100 million, and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million. Rich Pedroncelli, AP A view of the Cat Ear Wireless Headphones from Brookstone on display at Z100’s artist gift lounge during Jingle Ball 2016 at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 9, 2016 in New York. Brian Ach, Getty Images for iHeart Shoppers peruse items at a Brookstone at the North County Fair Mall on Nov. 27, 2015 in Escondido, Calif. Sandy Huffaker, Getty Images The app-controlled Perfect Drink from Brookstone in 2014, is a bartending device that connects to your smartphone or tablet to give you step-by-step directions with a virtual “glass” that fills up as you pour. BROOKSTONE Customers examine the AR.Drone quadricopter, the first quadricopter controlled by an iPod Touch, iPhone, or IPad, at Brookstone’s Rockefeller Center store on Nov. 10, 2010 in New York. The $300.00 AR.Drone is a helicopter with four separate propellers made of carbon fiber and strong plastics. AFP, AFP/Getty Images Brookstone’s Microbeam Travel Alarm Clock is a digital clock that displays the time, temperature and date, and has an alarm mode. The compact clock has a super-bright LED flashlight on the bottom that turns on automatically when you lift clock up. Karen Rubin, Brookstone Brookstone’s Stainless Steel Steam-Free Frother and Stand Brookstone creates foam without the steam for cappuccino, hot chocolate, latte, malts, shakes and more in just 10 seconds. BROOKSTONE Riders try out Segway Human Transporters in a Brookstone store on Oct 29, 2003 in New York. Brookstone and Segway announced that day that Brookstone would be the first and only national retail store chain to sell the device. Mario Tama, Getty Images A Brookstone store is seen at Rockefeller Center Oct. 29, 2003 in New York City. Mario Tama, Getty Images

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You may soon have to get your massage chair somewhere else.

Specialty goods retailer Brookstone, known for quirky products such as back-kneading chairs or Bluetooth speakers in the shape of footballs, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday and plans to close all of its remaining mall stores.

The company hired liquidators to close its about 100 remaining mall locations after declining foot traffic and management blunders crushed sales.

The retailer has been bleeding cash as customers increasingly shop online for the types of products it sells, such as high-tech blankets, headphones, travel pillows and exercise equipment.

Brookstone, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group, hopes to keep its 35 remaining airport stores open.

It’s the second bankruptcy for Brookstone in recent years, giving the company the dubious distinction of what legal insiders call “Chapter 22.”

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The retailer said it’s seeking a buyer. Without a sale, it could end up liquidating.

Facing mounting losses, Sanpower decided in July to “provide limited funding,” forcing the company into bankruptcy, Brookstone Chief Financial Officer Greg Tribou said in a court filing.

“Today we have taken several important steps to restructure the business and ensure that Brookstone will be well-positioned to succeed for years to come,” Brookstone CEO Piau Phang Foo said in a statement. “The decision to close our mall stores was difficult, but ultimately provides an opportunity to maintain our well-respected brand and award-winning products while operating with a smaller physical footprint.”

The company was sold to its Chinese owner in 2014 after filing for bankruptcy earlier that year.

CLOSE

In addition to declining mall traffic, Brookstone also blamed supply chain issues, technical problems and management turnover for its downfall.

In one unusual twist, the company said it had lost some vendors after trying to get them to accept Chinese currency, called yuan, instead of dollars.

The company said its 2017 sales totaled $351 million, down 33 percent from 2016.

E-commerce sales represented about 40 percent of its business.

But a recent e-commerce technology shift caused Brookstone to lose “a substantial amount of data” that ended up “severely damaging” the company’s digital sales, Tribou said.

What’s more, Tribou said Brookstone recently ceased sending out hard-copy catalogs, and that was “directly responsible” for a sharp drop in web traffic.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

Hudson Group Signs Deal to Acquire 34 Brookstone Stores in U.S. Airports

NOW BOARDING: The Hudson Group has signed a deal to acquire the assets related to the operation of Brookstone stores in U.S. airports from Apex Digital Inc.

In addition, through a licensing agreement with Bluestar Alliance LLC, which owns the Brookstone brand and its trademarks, Hudson has obtained the right to be the exclusive airport retailer. The deal will cover 34 airport stores in total. Brookstone has 30 stores across the country in airports and four more are scheduled to open as Brookstone stores in San Francisco, Philadelphia and two in Atlanta. Thirty-three of the stores are in airports where Hudson has existing operations.

This confirms a report in WWD last month. Confirmation of the deal comes amid reports that Amazon is in talks to bring its Amazon Go cashier-free technology to airports, movie theaters and sporting events. In 2017, travelers reportedly spent more than $1.7 billion in U.S. airports at newsstands and travel convenience stores.

Brookstone is known for its eclectic range of merchandise in travel, wellness, home and entertainment. As part of the arrangement, Hudson will be able to sell select Brookstone merchandise in its travel convenience stores.

Bluestar is the owner of the intellectual property assets of many fashion brands that include Tahari, Bebe, Kensie, Michael Bastian and English Laundry, to name a few. Founded by Joseph Gabbay and Ralph Gindi in 2006, the company’s focus is on consumer brands that operate in the areas of wellness, home, travel and entertainment. Bluestar manages a portfolio with retail sales of more than $2.5 billion.

The Hudson Group has shown interest in Brookstone in the past. In August 2018, Brookstone filed for bankruptcy court protection and subsequently closed about 100 mall-based stores as well as outlet stores. In October 2018, BKST Holdings LLC, a designee of Bluestar, and Apex Digital Inc. paid $72 million for Brookstone’s assets, purchasing it out of bankruptcy. As part of the deal, the buyers maintained the majority of its airport stores, distribution center and operating team in New Hampshire. Last fall’s winning offer outdid a competing bid submitted at auction by a partnership of ThreeSixty Group and Hudson Group.

Brookstone goes bankrupt, plans to close all of its mall stores

Brookstone Inc., the specialty retailer known for selling massage chairs, travel gadgets and other novelties at malls and airports, filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday and said it would close its 101 mall-based stores.

The company said it would put its 35 airport stores up for sale. Those locations are still performing well, the company said. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Brookstone was in talks with liquidators to close its mall-based outlets.

Brookstone has lined up a $30 million bankruptcy loan to keep the doors open at its airport stores during the bankruptcy case.

The chapter 11 fling is Brookstone’s second trip through bankruptcy in recent years. In 2014 Brookstone filed for bankruptcy protection, and was sold to a Chinese consortium that pledged at the time to keep most of its 240 stores open.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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