By Martin Kidston
Hastings Entertainment Co. announced this week that it will close its stores and liquidate its merchandise, a move that includes the company’s six Montana locations.
For several Montana communities, including Missoula, it marks the second retail box store in so may months to liquidate its merchandise and go out of business.
On June 13, Hastings – a longtime retailer of movies, books and other entertainment goods – filed for Chapter 11 protection to evaluate a buyer that could help give the business a new brand. The effort to find a buyer concluded on Thursday.
“At the completion of the sale process, the winning buyer was a joint venture that will instead oversee a liquidation of our stores to ensure we are maximizing the value of all of our remaining merchandise and assets as we prepare to close,” the company said in a press release.
The joint venture included Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners. A bankruptcy court was expected to approve the agreement on Friday.
Hastings has been a longtime Missoula fixture in the home entertainment market, renting VHS movies in the 1990s before shifting to DVDs and, eventually, blue-ray disks. It also made a business selling used music, records and books.
But the likes of Netflix, digital downloads and other streaming media took a bite out of business. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company’s debts included $80 million in loans and $59 million in trade bills. As of last year, the company’s losses were $16.6 million on $401 million in revenue.
The pending sale, which begins Saturday at most locations, includes discounts of up to 30 percent off. The company operates stores in Missoula, Billings, Bozeman, Helena, Butte and Great Falls.
In May, Sports Authority also announced it’s intention to close 450 national stores, including its location in Missoula. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March and carried more than $1 billion in debt.
Contact reporter Martin Kidston at email@example.com