Top U.S. Retail Chains Bankrupt

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Inside Houston Real Estate
Bombay - Sadly, this chain failed and filed for bankruptcy in September 2007. All assets were liquidated and the company's trademark, intellectual property and trade names were later purchased by Hilco Consumer Resources and Gordon Brothers Group for $2 million in cash. You'll see these investors pop up throughout this list. They acquired many of these dismantled stores.

Circuit City - If you've got any of this company's gift cards, better redeem them before March 31, when they close their doors for good. During the liquidation period, warranties on new purchases will continue to be honored and they will still offer theater installation. This store filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in November of last year but never recovered.

CompUSA - Although this chain closed its last few doors in March of 2008, following a final sales push during the Christmas holiday season in 2007, it is noteworthy to mention. Known for its strong presence in the consumer appliance market, CompUSA met its demise due to sluggish sales and competition with Best Buy, Fry's and Circuit City.

Goody's Family Clothing - This retail apparel chain is a privately held company based in Knoxville, Tennessee that came out of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in October of last year. The company, however, was forced to liquidate its collateral and inventory the beginning of this year due to the recession in the economy.

Linens `n Things - This retail chain filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in May of 2008, but closed its doors later last year. A joint venture, Hilco Consumer Capital and Gordon Brothers Brands, purchased the chain for $1 million. That's a far cry from the $1.3 billion a group of private investors paid for it in 2006.

Mervyn's - Most of this retail chain's stores were located in California where it held a strong presence before filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in July of last year. The last stores closed their doors in December of 2008. The store was founded in 1949 by Mervin G. Morris, the stores' namesake, although, the "i" in his first name was changed to a "y" for marketing reasons.

The Sharper Image Corp. - After filing for bankruptcy early last year, this retail store known for its electronic gadgets closed its doors in August of 2008. Hilco Consumer Capital and Gordon Brothers Group won the bid at the bankruptcy auction for all assets of The Sharper Image. The final cost? Forty-nine million, along with some conditional recapture of the company's assets.

Tweeter - By November of 2007, this retail chain filed bankruptcy for the 2nd time in 18 months. Hit by declining projection and flat screen TV sales and competition from Best Buy and Circuit City, Tweeter finally gave up the ghost. The company had been purchased by Schulze Asset Management in June 2006, but even the $38 million invested in the company couldn't save it.

Woolworth's - This almost century old chain succumbed to the same demise so many others that went before it did - competition and slumping sales. All of this chain's stores were closed earlier this year after filing for bankruptcy in November of last year.

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Comments (5)

Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Very interesting list. 

I am a veteran shopper and can identify with some of the retailers you mentioned. 

Circuit City?  Far to "sales" oriented.  They relied on the old fashioned way of commissioned sales persons rather than price and service.

CompUSA?  That one I can't figure because for non-tech types they offered a degree of helpful sales and service that is difficult to get at BestBuy.

Linens and Things?  How could they compete with the BB&B 20% off coupons that I collect, pass out and use regularly?

Sharper Image?  Price, price, price.

Tweeter?  They lost two sales when they ignore me.  I purchased a Sony Plasma from Tweeter back in 1999 for about $6,500 when plasma systems were new and very expensive.  Twice since then, I tried to buy additional sets for my new home from Tweeter but simply couldn't get waited on, even when there were no other customers in the stores.  I believe that they thought that ignoring folks over 30 was a good marketing technique.  They were wrong.  The guys at BestBuy are always willing to help.  They apparently have better customer service training.





May 14, 2009 09:57 PM
Fernando Herboso - Associate Broker MD, & VA
Maxus Realty Group of Samson Properties - Clarksburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

and the list keeps growing. .is it the economy? or simple a refusal to change with the times. . .

May 14, 2009 11:50 PM
Goodbye Active Rain
Out of Real Estate

This looks like a trend leading towards people needing less and less materialistic goods. 

May 15, 2009 12:47 AM
Sam Hill

Many retailers will go bankrupt in January-2010, a repeat of last year. Many store closings ahead. Unemployment will follow suit. You don't

need to be an economist to figure this one out. My calculated prediction is unemployment, U3, will hit 12% before August, 2009. Unemployment

U6 will be at, 19.5%. U6 plus the hidden-long term unemployed, 25% - 27%. More home foreclosures and home values in decline for 2010.

More bank failures on the 2010 horizon. FED will need to pump in more money just to keep the economy afloat in 2010. FED has right idea

but is going about it all wrong. As the US faces mass poverty it will have to come up with some new and innovative ideas. Or large segments

of population will be in squalor. 13% of the 300.5 million people already in desperate need of food stamps.


Nov 09, 2009 10:23 AM
Erik Johnson
Paul Johnson and Associates - Abilene, TX

I wish I would have seen your article a few months ago.  There were some deals being done on some great properties around Texas.

- Erik Johnson

Dec 15, 2009 04:58 AM