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REDMOND, WA-Spiegel Inc., the parent company of Redmond, WA-based Eddie Bauer, has retained Keen Realty LLC of Great Neck, NY to act as a special consultant in the restructuring of its real estate portfolio, part of Spiegel’s reorganization under Ch. 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Keen, which specializes in restructuring retail real estate and lease portfolios and selling excess assets, will assist Spiegel in the disposition of 63 retail locations and a 65,000-sf call center. Sixty of the retail locations are Eddie Bauer, Eddie Bauer Home and Eddie Bauer Outlet stores. The call center, located in Bothell, WA, also was used for Eddie Bauer-related activities.

Downers Grove, Ill.-based Spiegel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection on March 17, 2003. In April, the company said it would close 60 of its 529 Eddie Bauer stores across the country as part of its reorganization, including eight California stores and seven stores in New York. In Washington State, where Eddie Bauer has 24 locations, two stores will close.

Closing the “under-performing” stores will “improve Eddie Bauer’s financial results in fiscal 2003 and going forward,” according to a Spiegel statement. “The company will assess inventory writedowns, if any, associated with these store closings on a going forward basis.”

Also in April, Spiegel announced it has inked a deal with Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems Corp. to start a private-label credit card program at Spiegel’s merchant divisions, including Eddie Bauer, Spiegel Catalogue and Newport News. The court ordered Spiegel to shut down its own credit card division in early March.

In May, Eddie Bauer’s Portland, ME-based rival L.L. Bean notified the U.S. Bankruptcy Court overseeing Spiegel’s reorganization that it would like to be kept informed about whether Bauer assets are for sale.

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