BANKRUPTCY: More Than He Could Chew

More Than He Could Chew

B. Altman and Bonwit Teller are not the sort of stores that stiff their suppliers. But since the spring, several fashion houses have withheld shipments to the swank Manhattan department stores because of late payments. The stores have been caught in the enormous debt problems of their current owner, Australia's Hooker Corp., which is controlled by investor George Herscu. Last week Hooker's U.S. holding company sought protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Herscu piled up debts of $1.4 billion building his trans-Pacific empire, then ran into trouble last year. Hooker, Australia's second largest home builder, has been hit by...

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