Sur La Table files for bankruptcy, will close dozens of stores

The fallout continues.

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I know some people are connected to Sur La Table. I remember, pre-Internet, when places such as Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma were the only places to go for anything you couldn’t find in a department store. Catalogs put a dent in their business and the Internet really hurt. In my own opinion, in recent years, Sur La Table become the home of mediocre cooking “demos” and overpriced products. “This isn’t selling well. We should raise the price.”

CV-19 is certainly shaking things out. The weak will not make it out the other side. Sur La Table joins Sears (who thought diluting and then selling Craftsman was a good idea), J.C. Penney and others. I suspect, without really visionary reinvention, they’ll end up with Montgomery Ward and Kitchen Bazaar.

I’ll miss them, but only because they used to send me $10 coupons every so often for no reason. So I have a lot of $10 items from Sur La Table.

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Once again @Auspicious, I have to respectfully, but strongly disagree. Love the place, they have great sales, excellent merchandise, and a wide variety of things not found elsewhere. I was gifted a PokPok cooking class there, which I greatly enjoyed with my daughter. Did I need the class due to lacking in skill? Most definitely not, but got an excuse to do a little shopping after the very enjoyable class.

They haven’t diluted their merchandise, and IMO, aside from their brick and mortar stores, have adapted, and stayed relevant to the times. To compare them to Sears or MW isn’t apt, and in fact nears sacrilege in my book. I hope they find a buyer, as our world will become bleaker without wonderland kitchen stores and purveyors such as SLT.

Oh, I used to shop Williams Sonoma in their earliest catalog days. You could find great stuff for not a lot of $$$. Don’t go near the place now, find it way overpriced. As always YMMV, as well as others.

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I’m very sad about this. Like Lambchop, I found them to have really good merchandise (love their roasting pan) and nice sales, and weren’t as expensive or snooty or W-S. We got our big Le Creuset cocotte there at a 40% discount because it had a small chip and wasn’t in a popular color. I hope they don’t end up going out of business entirely.

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No issue. Once the Internet exploded and online shopping grew my only exposure to SLT was during occasional visits in mall somewhere. My observations was they followed the path of Williams-Sonoma to higher prices. Anything available there was available at lower prices elsewhere, especially on the Internet.

I’m sure the instruction varied by locale based on the available instructors. I only went to two. Both were “taught” by store salespeople and were not helpful.

My comparison to Sears and MW was in terms of business management in the face of online shopping, not market positioning.

I agree that brick & mortar has appeal. The market doesn’t agree with us.

Good points, my experiences there have been quite different to yours; perhaps because it’s Seattle based, IDK. A chef of local reknown taught the class. So fun to go with daughter, and everything was top rate. We were all treated to cappuccinos, class, then shopping. Their catalog comes out seasonally, isn’t printed on the expensive glitzy paper of some other catalogs, and usually has a coupon or discount code. I pore over it usually, for fun and ideas. I laugh at the WS catalog, and love the yearly spoof that comes out near Christmas every year.

Can only hope we don’t lose them entirely, nor all of their stores. If so, I guess we’ve all done it to ourselves by shopping online for ease and convenience.

What I wouldn’t give to have real bookstores in my town and at airports.

The times, they are a changin, and not for the better IMO. I want to go back to the 70’s, but would take the 90’s even. Sad to think of all we’re losing and have lost, many due to Covid currently, but others long before that. As to Sears and JC Penney’s, they were lumbering dinosaurs, waiting for extinction.

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Just read of SLT’s list of closures. Feeling quite sick, as many are in places wildly unexpected to me. Was afraid to scroll down to Washington, fearing we may lose some of ours, but they remain safe for now. Will buy some merchandise for gifting this Xmas, once I find out what kids may want/need. Have to be careful due to small city apartments. Sorry for the fans of SLT losing stores near to them.

Let’s keep fingers crossed for Crate and Barrel, as well as restaurant supply stores. They may well be struggling too.

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The 5 SLT stores that are closing here in the Bay Area are in high-rent places like San Francisco and Santana Row in San Jose. I’m hoping they keep their Livermore Outlet store.

Hope so too, @StephanieL; SF Union Square closure was a true shock, but considering the rents there now, in all reality, shouldn’t have been a surprise. Under those metrics, some in the Seattle area may be in the crosshairs. The location by Pike Place Market, must be ok due to sheer volume of foot traffic, and am pretty sure it’s their flagship location. Not fact checked yet.

Three of the five SLT within an hour or so are closing. All of them are too far for us.

I agree with you. I used to live in Seattle and would often visit the Pike Place Market store. Only place I’ve ever seen a copper croquembouche mold “in the wild.” That alone speaks to the non-dilution of merchandise for me!

I don’t think the Market is getting normal foot traffic. No cruise ships spewing out tourists, and many of the shops are still closed :frowning:

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That makes me sad. I haven’t bought much from them, having much more kitchen stuff than I wil ever need, but Ioved the catalog.

Dang!

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold