Business

hhgregg closing Columbus store, liquidation starts immediately

Shoppers gather in front of the hhgregg store at Columbus Park Crossing Thursday, a crowd that included Jonathan Joseph and Spencer Jones, first in line and both of Fort Benning. Joseph was planning to purchase a 55-inch Seiki LED television for $298 to replace his existing 14-inch TV.
Shoppers gather in front of the hhgregg store at Columbus Park Crossing Thursday, a crowd that included Jonathan Joseph and Spencer Jones, first in line and both of Fort Benning. Joseph was planning to purchase a 55-inch Seiki LED television for $298 to replace his existing 14-inch TV. tadams@ledger-enquirer.com

Electronics and appliance retailer hhgregg is closing its Columbus store, it announced Friday, as part of a total liquidation of the entire 220-store chain.

The liquidation of goods and property will begin Saturday, the company said.

hhgregg has operated at Columbus Park Crossing since 2004, opening in early November that year just a few weeks before the launch of the holiday shopping season.

(Sears and Kmart stores near their last day in Columbus, Phenix City)

The loss of the store at 6499 Whittlesey Blvd. will leave another major hole at Columbus Park Crossing, with iconic department store retailer Sears having shut its doors at 5555 Whittlesey Blvd. less than two weeks ago. The Sears sign is already gone from that large building’s front facade.

Indianapolis-based hhgregg said March 3 it was pulling the plug on 88 underperforming stores in early March, then quickly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 6. It since terminated a letter of intent from a purchaser of its assets.

Just after 5 p.m. Friday, the retailer made the ultimate announcement that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana had approved its request to liquidate all of its assets starting as soon as Saturday. It has hired a company to conduct the sale of merchandise, furniture, fixtures and other equipment at the 220 stores in 19 states and its remaining distribution centers.

(Era ending with Raymond Rowe Furniture going out of business)

“Since filing for financial protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy code on March 6, 2017, we have continued to fight for the future of our company,” said Bob Riesbeck, hhgregg’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “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.”

This is the second major electronics retailer to depart Columbus Park Crossing, which like hhgregg, was part of a complete dismantling of the company. That would be Circuit City, which operated in the space where Haverty’s furniture store now does business.

(AMC wrapping up the rebranding of local Carmike Cinemas theaters)

The other major tenant at Columbus Park that has been in the news recently is the Carmike 15 movie-theater complex, which was part of AMC Entertainment Holding’s $1.2 billion buyout of Columbus-based Carmike Cinemas. Signs on the Carmike 15 are expected to be replaced next week to reflect AMC’s ownership.

Sears Holdings, as part of the round of store closures that claimed the Columbus Park Crossing location, also shut down all but one of the Kmart outlets in Columbus and Phenix City, with the exception of the Kmart on Airport Thruway.

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