Gottschalks Still In Business?

March 25, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's hard to say what's happening. All of the dealing over the bankrupt store chain's sale is being done behind closed doors.Reports are that one company who wants to use the chain for going out of business sales and a chinese company that may want to keep the stores open are interested.

It looked like a normal business day at Gottschalk's flagship store in Fresno's River Park Shopping Center.

But loyal customers like Lilliana Nichols, fear the worst.

The 61 store chain is in bankruptcy, and is slated to go on the auction block on the 30th. The winning bidder will be announced on April 1st.

A group of liquidation companies, that handled going out of business sales for Circuit City and other chains are bidding together. Another liquidator was said to be interested in making a late bid.

The only ray of hope is an un-named Chinese company thought to be interested in keeping at least some of the stores open.

But retail analyast Howard Davidowitz said the Chinese company may only be interested in moving it's own merchandise during a going out of business sale.

Davidowitz said, "They may also be tied in with the liquidator to provide inventory, which often happens."

Gottshalks was founded in Fresno in 1907. The chain expanded in the 90's, but started having financial problems over the past five years and shoppers stayed away.

Phay Vanh said, "It's the clothing. I'm not really into the clothing. So that's why I don't really come around here that often."

But the Howard Davidowitz said the real killer is the nationwide economic slump. And he believes Gottschalk's will be very tough to sell.

If the store is sold to liquidators, it's expected the going out of business sales will start as soon as April 3rd.

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