Sofa Express and More Executives Confirm Store Closings, Bankruptcy
Furniture World News
Representatives of Sofa Express and more! announced that on Thursday, December 6, 2007 it filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection in Tennessee’s Middle District Court in Nashville and that it will close the remainder of its 41 stores.
Sofa Express and more! CEO Woolard Harris said the Company had spent the past year examining its business, looking for ways to strategically improve performance across all its stores. “Over the first half of this year, we made some very positive strides in improving our performance,” Harris stated. “However, the impact of the uncertainty in the housing market resulted in a significant downturn in our business that we simply did not have the means to withstand.”
The decrease in sales coupled with increases in fuel and other distribution expenses, had a very negative impact on the Company’s financial performance and Its ability to cover occupancy and other operating expenses. Harris added, “Given the challenges currently faced by the entire home furnishings industry, you’ve got to be nearly perfect to survive.”
Harris said the Company had begun laying out a plan to liquidate its remaining inventory and that a liquidation firm would be chosen during the bankruptcy proceedings.
Harris confirmed that the Company’s corporate office had distributed WARN notice letters to its employees on Dec. 3, informing them that stores would be closing within 60 days, though not specifying exact dates. “I’m disappointed that we’ve had to inform our employees of the closings,” Harris said. “The decision to close has not been an easy one. We’ve had a tremendous number of talented employees behind us and I am very grateful for the efforts of all of them.”
The Company has not determined how long each store will remain open but advised employees that it may take up to a couple of months to liquidate stores and distribution centers. “We intend to keep our employees fully informed as we move forward with the liquidation.”
The Company has provided notice to the State Dislocated Workers Unit and the highest local elected officials so that they can assist its employees in pursuing alternative employment, Harris added.
Harris expressed gratitude for the patience and cooperation exhibited by the Company’s employees in recent weeks. “We are all experiencing a great amount of uncertainty at this time, and the understanding exhibited by our employees has been outstanding,” said Harris. “They’ve continued to stay focused on our customers, which will remain the number one priority for all of us as we move forward with the closings.”
Furniture World Magazine-Business solutions for furniture retailers