Linens ‘n Things Files for Chapter 11

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Home goods retailer Linens 'n Things has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to close 120 underperforming stores, the company said on Friday.

The struggling seller of textiles, housewares and other home goods also said it had secured $700 million in financing from General Electric Co's (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) GE Capital affiliate to ensure it can stock its stores with merchandise for the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.

The company said Michael Gries had been appointed chief restructuring officer and interim chief executive.

Like many retailers of home-related goods — including Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (BBBY.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Williams-Sonoma Inc (WSM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) — Linens 'n Things has struggled mightily in the wake of the U.S. housing bust and global credit crisis.

Executive Chairman Robert DiNicola said those issues “overwhelmed the operating and merchandising improvements that we have made over the past two years.”

Linens 'n Things operated 589 stores nationwide as of December 29, 2007.

The company, owned by affiliates of billionaire investor Leon Black's Apollo Global Management, had been in talks with a committee of its debt holders about altering its capital structure.

Last month Linens 'N Things said it had delayed a $16 million interest payment and that its lenders had agreed to delay exercising their right to stop making loans to the company.

(Reporting by Justin Grant, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace)