This article has been edited to reflect updates in hhgregg’s status. Updated 4/10/17.
Hhgregg has failed to find a buyer and will be liquidating all 220 stores. You may have already noticed if you have a local hhgregg, as the liquidation sales began this past weekend. Approximately 5,000 layoffs will occur over this liquidation, and the closings will be completed by the end of May. Their website has not been altered to reflect this, still advertising their Spring Dining Event sale, but we have reports that in-store liquidation prices are only up to 30% off. This liquidation marks the end of a 62-year run for the electronics and home furnishing retailer.
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy early last month, electronics retailer hhgregg has struggled to find a buyer. Their most promising deal fell through in late March due to a dispute over the dedication of funds to paying creditors, and now the company is saying it will have to liquidate if a buyer isn’t found by the end of the week. While hhgregg has stated it will continue to operate as usual during the restructuring process, they will still be closing 88 stores (which has resulted in the elimination of about 1,500 jobs), although that could rise to 132 if no buyer is found.
Consumerist recommends customers keep an eye on their local hhgregg for going-out-of-business sales starting as early as this Saturday. Customers who are still hanging onto gift cards may want to use them this week, especially if your local store is one of those closing. If you’re intending to return anything before the company liquidates, you may be out of luck. Hhgregg’s return policy and price-matching policy have adjusted to no longer accommodate returns on items purchased before March 3, 2017, and they are no longer honoring “price adjustments, coupons, or any other advertised prices offered at other hhgregg location[s] or website.” As of March 21, they are no longer accepting returns that exceed $2,850 in accordance with the US Bankruptcy Court Order. In a statement issued to News 5 Cleveland, CEO Robert Riesbeck said, “The Court’s order does not impact product bought post filing, and therefore we are operating in ordinary course. We plan to honor delivery of our customer orders and are working closely with our vendor partners to ensure our stores are stocked. Should you have an issue, we encourage you to call our Customer Care department at 800-284-7344 so that we can work with you to get it resolved.”
News 5 Cleveland also reached out to the Cleveland Better Business Bureau (BBB) for advice for consumers dealing with a company that has filed Chapter 11. Cleveland BBB President Sue McConnell told News 5, “It could affect deliveries, it could affect warranty issues. If you purchase something on your credit card, and then if the product never arrives or there is an issue, you can at least file a dispute with your credit card company.”
It’s also likely the value of hhgregg’s common stock will be wiped out, as stated by the company last Friday, meaning investors would be left with nothing. The New York Stock Exchange began delisting procedures for the company in February for failing to meet the minimum listing price. The company has been in financial hot water for a while now, reporting losses for two years in a row (with sales falling 24% year-over-year in 2016), and their failure to keep up with retail trends and omnichannel initiatives has been detrimental to their success in competition with other electronics retailers like Best Buy. It took until early 2016 for the company to even offer free shipping, something even high-end boutique brands offered long before then.
On March 16, when the initial deal fell through, Riesbeck offered this official statement: “We have received strong interest from third parties interested in buying some or all of the company’s assets. We and our advisers continue to work with potential acquirers to help them understand our business model for future growth and our value proposition.”
We recommend you keep an eye on your local hhgregg if you have one and spend those gift cards while you got ’em. Liquidation sales could start on Saturday, so clear your schedules, value shoppers. Their website does not currently indicate any kind of going-out-of-business sale, but keep an eye on that, too.