The liquidation of all 29 Rugged Bear stores began Friday after the retail chain failed to attract superior bids in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The chain, which specialized in selling children's outdoor apparel and footwear, had hoped to reorganize, but sought court permission to liquidate on Feb. 11 after failing to secure financing.

Rugged Bear filed bankruptcy Jan. 25 one year after a Boston investment brokerage firm acquired the venerable retailer with plans to expand it. After bidders failed to emerge Wednesday, a bankruptcy judge authorized stalking horse bidder Gordon Brothers to start liquidating store inventory.


When the company filed Chapter 11, it listed $8.1 million in assets and $10.4 million in liabilities, including hundreds of thousands of dollars owed to vendors in the outdoor industry. Among its 20 largest unsecured creditors were Kamik/Genfoot, owed $242.201.34; Turtle Fur Companies & Nordic Gear, owed $78,463.82; and Merrell, owed $68,212.00.

Court records show the chain generated nearly $16 million in sales in 2010. Rugged Bear was started more than 30 years ago by the founder of Eastern Mountain Sports and acquired by the Boston investment firm Detwiler Fenton Group a year ago.  It operates 29 stores across seven states in New England, New York and New Jersey.


Under a plan approved by a judge Wednesday, Gordon Brothers will now seek to sell off inventory and fixtures in going-out-of-business sales. Rugged Bear is separately seeking buyers of its intellectual property.