*Creditors file involuntary bankruptcy petition in NY
*Company says is exploring strategic options
By Emily Chasan
NEW YORK, March 18 (Reuters) - Creditors of the owner of retailer 1800mattress.com are seeking to force the company into involuntary bankruptcy, according to court documents.
Three creditors of the company, known for its famous toll-free number, filed a Chapter 7 involuntary bankruptcy petition against Dial-A-Mattress Operating Corp in New York on Tuesday.
A spokesman for Dial-A-Mattress said the company has been exploring strategic options for the past several months, and expects to continue to work with potential investors.
“We will respond to these allegations in due course, and take the necessary steps to continue to operate these businesses,” the spokesman said, noting the company’s call center and Website remain open and customers should not see a disruption in service.
Under U.S. law, creditors may begin an involuntary bankruptcy case to force a debtor to confront them. The alleged debtor has 20 days to object to the filing.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy a trustee is typically appointed and the company is liquidated.
In this case, the creditors who filed the petition, a facility owner called 6225 Jericho Turnpike LLC and mattress producers Sealy ZZ.N and Blue Bell Mattress, said they are owed a combined $1.7 million. The company, which also sells mattresses made by Tempur Pedic International (TPX.N), Simmons Bedding Co [SIMMB.UL] and Serta, has many other potential creditors that were not named in the filing.
Franchises of 1-800-Mattress, that operate in New England, Connecticut, Philadelphia, parts of New Jersey and Florida, are not affected by the bankruptcy filing, and have separate contracts with suppliers, the spokesman said.
Mattress sellers and makers have struggled over the past year, as consumers hurt by the economic downturn, pulled back on big-ticket purchases. Maryland-based Mattress Discounters filed for Chapter 11 last year, and Foamex International Inc, which makes foam bedding products sought bankruptcy protection in February.
The Case is In re: Dial-A-Mattress Operating Corp., U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 09-41966.
Reporting by Emily Chasan; Editing by Bernard Orr