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Harry & David close to emerging from bankruptcy

Harry & David's flagship store in Medford.
Tom Banse
Northwest News Network
Harry & David's flagship store in Medford.

One of the best-known Northwest brands is closer to getting out of bankruptcy. A federal judge has given a tentative okay to the recovery plan for Oregon gourmet food and gift retailer Harry & David.

Medford-based Harry & David filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last March. The recession and heavy discounting hammered profits. Now, a court has signed off on a reorganization plan that gives creditors a controlling share of the company. The deal also dumps the company's now-closed pension plan onto a federal insurance agency.

Harry and David has operated normally throughout bankruptcy, aside from closing dozens of retail locations in other parts of the country. Still, Portland-based turnaround specialist Renee Fellman says the high-end company has some big decisions to make in the months ahead.

"They're going to have to look very carefully at which products are the right products, which ones are profitable, what's the right price point," says Fellman.

A company spokesperson declined to comment. But in a written statement, Harry and David's interim CEO said the company, "looks forward to exiting Chapter 11 as a stronger, more competitive company." That could be early fall.

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.