Fri, Feb 23, 2001 EST
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Frank's Nursery & Crafts Seeking
Bankruptcy Protection

Associated Press
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TROY, Mich. — Frank's Nursery & Crafts and its parent company, privately held FNC Holdings Inc., has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Troy, Mich.-based Frank's is the nation's largest lawn and garden specialty retailer. It also sells dried and artificial flowers, holiday merchandise and home decor items.

The Troy-based company said Tuesday it sought bankruptcy protection in federal court in Baltimore. It also said it will close 24 of its Frank's outlets as part of a reorganization plan.

The company didn't say which stores it would close.

Frank's has obtained a $100 million two-year financing promise from a group led by Wells Fargo Retail Finance. The court would have to approve the arrangement.

Joseph Baczko, chairman of parent company FNC said cool weather last year in the Midwest and Northeast hurt the business. He also said holiday sales were disappointing last year.

In October, it announced plans to sell 42 underperforming stores to trim its debt and finance new outlets.

The company had sales of $435 million during 2000.

Frank's operates 218 stores in 15 states.

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