Rockport shoe company files for bankruptcy

NEW YORK- Rockport is stumbling into bankruptcy, with the shoe maker saying Monday that it is filing for Chapter 11 protection. 

Newton, Massachusetts-based Rockport Group will sell its assets to private equity group Charlesbank under a bankruptcy plan as the shoemaker struggles to compete in a tougher retail market. Charlesbank will serve as the "stalking horse bidder" in a court-supervised sale process. That allows the company to accept other buyout offers

Rockport, whose brands include Aravon, Dunham and Rockport, said it will maintain operations through the sale process, but the company is seeking court authorization to close retail stores that are not acquired by Charlesbank or a potential other buyer. It plans to focus on its wholesale, independent and e-commerce sales.

Rockport was founded in 1971 as The Rockport Co. and eventually became part of Adidas before being sold again.