American TV & Appliance, a Wisconsin-based furniture, appliance and electronic retail chain for the past 60 years, announced Monday it was closing all nine of its stores. The locations include two stores each in Illinois and Iowa and five stores, corporate offices and distribution centers in Wisconsin.
The retailer blamed an unforgiving economy over the last five years for the decision and said Monday it was filing for Chapter 128 receivership, a Wisconsin legal procedure similar to a bankruptcy that will allow it to sell assets to pay creditors. A going-out-of-business sale will start on Thursday. The value of American's assets is listed at $72.6 million, but legal documents note that it is unknown what price the assets actually would raise in a sale. It lists liabilities of almost $55 million.
American's 989 employees have been notified and will remain employed through the closing process. Employees will be compensated, with benefits, through a "notification period" that was not further described or defined.
The move to digital media has caused the downfall of several electronics stores in recent years including Circuit City and CompUSA. In February 2012, Milwaukee Company Appliance World abruptly shut down after 56 years in business, citing economic conditions that had hurt sales. Appliance World operated three stores in the Milwaukee area.
For the tech retailers that have stayed afloat, it's been an uphill battle. RadioShack, for instance, reported its seventh consecutive quarterly loss as sales for the consumer-electronics chain continue to struggle. Best Buy has also had its fair share of hardships and recently saw shares tank after it reported bleak holiday sales below Wall Street's expectations.
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