hhgregg to close Wal­dorf store, Brandy­wine fa­cil­ity

Re­tailer is ex­it­ing MidAt­lantic mar­ket, all 11 Mary­land stores clos­ing

Maryland Independent - - News - By DAR­WIN WEIGEL dweigel@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @somd_bized­i­tor

In­di­anapo­lis-based ap­pli­ance, elec­tron­ics and fur­nish­ings re­tailer hhgregg, Inc. an­nounced Thurs­day that as part of its turn­around ef­forts, the com­pany plans to close three dis­tri­bu­tion fa­cil­i­ties and 88 store loca- tions, in­clud­ing a store in Wal­dorf and a dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter in Brandy­wine, ac- cord­ing to a news re­lease.

“We are strate­gi­cally ex- it­ing mar­kets and stores that are not fi­nan­cially prof­itable for us,” Robert J. Ries­beck, hhgregg’s pres­i­dent and CEO, said in the re­lease. “This is a proac­tive de­ci­sion to stream­line our store foot­print in the mar­kets where we have been, and will con­tinue to be, im- por­tant to our cus­tomers, ven­dor part­ners and com- mu­ni­ties. We feel strongly that the mar­kets we will re­main in are the right ones for our cus­tomers and our busi­ness model. Our team is ded­i­cated to mov­ing for­ward and be­ing a prof­itable 132-store, multi-re­gional chain where we will con­tinue to be a dominant force in ap­pli­ances, elec­tron­ics and home fur­nish­ings.”

The com­pany is clos­ing all of its stores and fa­cili- ties in the Mid-At­lantic re­gion, as well as the South­east. All hhgregg re­tail lo­ca­tions in Mary­land, which in­cludes 11 stores and the dis­tri­bu­tion facil- ity in Brandy­wine, Penn­syl­va­nia, Delaware and Vir­ginia are set to close next month.

Cur­rent in­ven­tory in the af­fected stores will be sold over the com­ing weeks, with fi­nal clos­ings ex­pected to be com­plete by mid-April, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease. The clos­ings will re­sult in the elimi- na­tion of ap­prox­i­mately 1,500 po­si­tions com­pany wide.

“There are ap­proxi- mately 24 em­ploy­ees at the Wal­dorf store and ap­prox­i­mately 63 at the Brandy­wine Re­gional Dis- tri­b­u­tion Cen­ter,” Chan­tal Kowal­ski, hhgregg’s com- mu­ni­ca­tion man­ager, told the Mary­land In­de­pen- dent in an email.

“We do not know the ex­act clos­ing date for each store lo­ca­tion at this time,” Kowal­ski said in the email. “The stores will re­main open un­til cur­rent in­ven­tory is sold, which we expect will be com- plete within the next 5-6 weeks.”

The re­tail chain’s dis­tri­bu­tion and de­liv­ery cen­ters lo­cated in Bran- dy­wine, Mi­ami and Phil- adel­phia will con­tinue to sup­port cus­tomer or­ders of all prod­ucts sold in the clos­ing lo­ca­tions un­til ev- ery­thing has been de­liv- ered, the re­lease stated.

Ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg News, the 61-year-old com­pany may file for bank­ruptcy soon. It had ex­panded in re­cent years to 220 stores in 19 states. By mid-April, 88 lo­ca­tions will be shut­tered, and the com­pany will have ef­fec­tively ex­ited re­gional mar­kets it had ex­panded into not long ago.

“The man­age­ment team has worked tire­lessly over the past year to re­turn hhgregg to prof­itabil­ity,” Ries­beck said in the re­lease. “We have de­ter­mined that the eco­nom­ics of the af­fected lo­ca­tions will not al­low us to achieve our over­all goal of be­com­ing a prof­itable com­pany again. Af­ter scru­ti­niz­ing our real es­tate port­fo­lio, we have iden­ti­fied a num­ber of un­der­per­form­ing stores, as well as store lo­ca­tions that are no longer strong shop­ping des­ti­na­tions due to changes in the lo­cal re­tail shop­ping land­scape.”

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