Gift Basket Retailer Asks to Dump Pensions

March 30, 2011 ( – Gift basket retailer Harry & David, in its filing for bankruptcy, has asked for court approval to shed its pension plans.

According to news report, its underfunded pensions include one for upper executives and a $27.4 million plan for more than 3,000 current and former employees.   

The Medford (Oregon) Mail Tribune reports that in Harry & David’s terms for proposed restructuring submitted on Monday, the company said it would file a motion to terminate the pension plan within 35 days, pending court approval. As part of an interim order authorizing Harry & David to pay employee wages, benefits, business expenses and other related items, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary F. Walrath, gave the go-ahead to “make minimum required contributions as required by law” due in April, the news report said.  

Harry & David made the shift to 401(k) plans to shore up its finances several years ago and announced the end of defined benefit pension accruals in June 2007.  

Some reports have suggested that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) does not have sufficient assets to cover employees facing the loss of their pensions, but Gary Pastorius, an agency spokesman, told the Mail Tribune the agency is on solid footing.