By Michelle Graff
Wilmington, Del.--Charming Charlie, the Houston-headquartered chain of costume jewelry stores, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday.

The retailer said it already has entered into a restructuring agreement with the majority of its lenders, and plans to keep the majority of its stores open and its website running during the process while moving forward with previously announced plans to close underperforming locations.

In a company statement, interim CEO Lana Krauter said: “Our goal is to move through this process quickly and emerge as a stronger, more focused organization that is better positioned to succeed in the rapidly changing retail environment.”

Krauter has been serving as interim CEO since Charming Charlie founder Charlie Chanaratsopon, a Houston multimillionaire entrepreneur, stepped down earlier this fall, the Houston Chronicle reported.

According to the Chapter 11 petition, which was filed in U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware, Charming Charlie LLC has between $100 million and $500 million assets but the same amount in liabilities.

The retailer has between 200 and 999 creditors. Its largest unsecured creditor is a Guangzhou, China-based company called R.Z.X. International Fashion Co Ltd., which is owned about $2.2 million, the Chapter 11 petition shows.  

Earlier this month, Charming Charlie announced the launch of a “back-to-basics” strategy that includes shuttering stores that aren’t doing well in the United States, closing its Los Angeles office and cutting staff at its corporate headquarters and distribution center in Houston.

Court documents show that the retailer is seeking permission from the bankruptcy court to close 97 stores in 32 states, about a quarter of its total fleet.

A spokesman said Tuesday that the company is not releasing specific figures on layoffs at this time.

Charming Charlie operates more than 375 stores in the U.S. Canada that sell, in addition to fashion jewelry, handbags, apparel, beauty products and gifts.

Complete information about the company’s restructuring plan can be found online.

Editor's note: This story was updated post-publication to include the number of store closures.

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