Court approves Friedman’s plan to close 164 stores

U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Savannah, Ga., approved Friedman’s Inc.’s request to close 164 underperforming stores in 17 states and sell in excess of $25 million of inventory as part of its chapter 11 reorganization plan, the company said Thursday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The court approved Friedman’s request on March 10. The Savannah-based company said it began its “Store Closing Program” on March 11 with the liquidation of merchandise from the stores designated to close. The clearance of merchandise must be completed by June 17.

The decision to close the stores was authorized by the Friedman’s Board of Directors on Feb. 14 and communicated to affected employees the following day. The company expects incur losses of $12 million due to sale of inventory at below cost.

A joint venture composed of Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC, The Nassi Group LLC, SB Capital Group LLC, and Bobby Wilkerson Inc. was previously named to conduct store closings.

The decision to close the stores followed a review of the company’s existing store operations as part of its reorganization strategy to improve operations and financial performance.