Pool & Spa News has learned that a large retailer of swimming pools, supplies and accessories has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. 

According to court documents, Manchester, Conn.-based Namco LLC voluntarily filed the petition on March 24 in the state of Delaware.

Founded in 1962, the firm currently operates 37 brick and mortar stores in 10 states throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Additionally, the company owns and operates a chemical repackaging facility in Manchester. It sells the product at its retail locations, as well as on a wholesale basis to distributors. Namco employs approximately 288 individuals.

The firm cites poor weather, internal management issues and economic factors for its inability to pay its debts, which total approximately $32.7 million, according to the official papers.

Namco acquired New Jersey-based pool supply retailer Branch Brook Co. in 2005 for roughly $35 million. The deal added six locations to its roster and expanded its geographic footprint into the Mid-Atlantic.

In an effort to reduce operating costs, the firm temporarily closed several of its stores and operated 21 fewer than it had the year prior, said court documents.

In December 2003, Namco was acquired by Whitney Equity Holdings Corp., which owns 50 percent of the equity. GarMark Partners II, became a second secured debt partner in 2007 and is a 50 percent equity holder.

This is a developing Pool & Spa News exclusive. The story will be updated as details become available.