UPDATE 1-Designer handbag maker Lambertson Truex bankrupt
* High-end spending also hurt, company exec says
* Las Vegas, Los Angeles stores closed, website OK (Adds background on spending, case number)
NEW YORK, March 5 (Reuters) - Lambertson Truex LLC, a maker of designer handbags, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday because of reduced demand for its products.
Finance director Maurice Dembsky said in a court filing that the extreme downturn in the global economy had crimped spending among customers typically willing to spend more on designer products than on store-brand or generic equivalents.
"Uncertainties with respect to future gains, inflation, and cash availability have led to 'shy spending,' even by customers formerly interested in purchasing high-quality products," Dembsky said.
Lambertson Truex filed for protection from creditors with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware. The New York-based company has between $1 million and $10 million of assets, and between $10 million and $50 million of debt, the petition shows.
Lambertson Truex said it was formed in 2006 when Samsonite Corp invested in and took a majority stake in the business, along with a "significant amount" of debt.
The company said it had closed its stores in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Samsonite has asked Lambertson Truex to keep its New York store open to see if it can be leased to a third party, the handbag maker said in the court filing.
Its website, where it sells handbags for as much as $18,000 each, remains in operation, the company said.
The case is Lambertson Truex LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington), No. 09-10747.
Consumers have cut spending because of job losses, difficulty accessing credit and declining home values.
A number of retailers have reported weak sales, including upscale ones such as Saks (SKS.N) and Nordstrom (JWN.N).
In February, for instance, Saks posted a 26 percent drop in sales at stores open at least a year, while Nordstrom faced a 15.4 percent decline. [nN05303321] (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Aarthi Sivaraman)
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