Up until 5 P.M. on Friday, appliance retailer hhgregg was waiting for a buyer to swoop in and save it from liquidation. The appliance, electronics, and furniture retailer could find someone to buy its business as a going concern, keeping at least some of its stores open, or it could liquidate and close. Store closing sales began on Saturday.
“While we had discussions with more than 50 private equity firms, strategic buyers and other investors, unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in our plan to secure a viable buyer of the business on a going-concern basis within the expedited timeline set by our creditors,” CEO Doug Riesbeck said in a statement for the media.
The company had claimed to have a buyer lined up when it first filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, but that mysterious entity backed out after some of the chain’s creditors balked at the terms of the sale, which included paying an unsecured debt to the company’s ad agency in full first, even before the company’s suppliers.
Employees didn’t have a lot of advance notice to get stores ready. TV station WKYT reports that the store in Lexington, KY opened half an hour late, with customers lining up outside, because employees needed more time to physically write new price tags.
CEO Riesbeck hasn’t been giving interviews since the liquidation announcement, but the Indianapolis Star looked back in its archives. One of the things that Riesbeck blamed the chain’s downfall on in an interview back in August 2016? Flat-panel televisions that most consumers could load in the backseat and install themselves.
“Once it went to flat panels, and all of a sudden people realized they could put them in the backseat of their car, delivery’s not that important anymore,” he observed.
If you recently made a big purchase from the big box chain, the bankruptcy and liquidation will affect your ability to return the item. Items purchased before the March 6 bankruptcy filing can still be returned, but only up to $2,850. Gift cards are still being accepted, if you have one.