Judge Approves Retailers' Takeover of Gottschalks Stores

June 10, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The latest chapter in the fall of Fresno retailer Gottschalks came in Delaware on Wednesday. A bankruptcy judge approved bids by Macy's and Forever 21 to take over four Gottschalks stores in the Valley.Gottschalks CEO Jim Famalette confirmed for Action News the court's approval of bids by both retailers. Macy's hopes to be open for business at Fresno's River Park in time for the Christmas shopping season.

Sadness over Gottschalks' demise at River Park will soon be replaced by excitement over the presence of Macy's. Macy's bids on Gottschalks locations in North Fresno and in Visalia have been approved.

Macy's Vice-President of Corporate Communications, Jim Sluzewski, said the company will keep its stores open at Fashion Fair while preparing to launch the River Park location. Sluzewski said, "Well that's a smaller store and we don't really have specific department by department plans."

However Macy's will not be moving portions of its furniture division to River Park. Sluzewski said, "It will be primarily apparel for men, women, kids, perhaps some home merchandise."

The Macy's expansion comes during tough economic times but it gives the company a stronger foothold in the valley. Sluzewski said, "We're looking at the longer term and continuing to build our market presence where it makes sense for us to do so."

During the bankruptcy hearing in Delaware the judge also approved Forever 21's bid to take over the Gottschalks lease at Fashion Fair and its purchase of the Hanford store.

Forever 21's ambitious plan will make the Fashion Fair store one of the biggest in the company chain. Gottschalk's liquidation sales are expected to be completed by mid-July. The Manchester Center store closes June 27th.

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