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Levitz Furniture was a nationwide chain of American furniture stores that helped create the "furniture warehouse" genre of retail furniture sales. It was in business for nearly 100 years before liquidating in bankruptcy in early 2008.

Levitz Furniture
Private
IndustryFurnishings
FateLiquidation
FoundedLebanon, Pennsylvania; 1910
Defunct2008
HeadquartersBoca Raton, Florida
ProductsHome Furniture

Contents

HistoryEdit

GrowthEdit

The company was founded in Lebanon, Pennsylvania in 1910 by Richard Levitz.[1]

In the 1960s Levitz successfully pioneered selling moderately priced brand-name furniture from a warehouse-style store.[2] It suffered in the 1990s as consumers began to prefer showroom sales that featured spaces arranged to look like actual rooms in houses.[3] The chain continued to expand in 2005, when they acquired Seaman's Furniture and Huffman Koos stores after bankruptcy.

On a related noteEdit

Six years after the founder's retirement and no longer associated with the Levitz Furniture company, the founder reentered the furniture market purchasing the store chain RB Furniture eventually renamed The RoomStore, eventually selling them to Heilig-Meyers.

He along with other family members, later bought into opening Ashley Furniture HomeStores eventually owning 9 locations.

MarketingEdit

The store is known for the slogan and jingle "You'll love it at Levitz."[2]

Bankruptcy and liquidationEdit

 
Levitz Furniture store during liquidation sale, December 2007.

Levitz was accused of having been poorly run for more than a decade starting in the 1990s. It declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy twice during the period, in 1997 and again in 2005, both times emerging after a corporate restructuring and the participation of new outside backers.[3]

On December 21, 1998, Levitz announced it would close 27 stores and lay off 25% of its workforce. The company downsized its warehouse system from 65 to 17 sites.[4]

The furniture market underwent a prolonged nationwide downturn after the September 11 attacks, and was hurt again in late 2007 by the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis.[5] Levitz filed for bankruptcy the final time in October 2007.[1] As of that time, it was operating nearly 80 stores, mostly in the Northeastern United States and on the West Coast,[6] under the corporation PLVTZ LLC. In October 2008, Levitz Furniture, with bankruptcy court approval, converted its Chapter 11 case to Chapter 7, and started liquidation sales.[7]

The company was sold in bankruptcy to a group of bidders, led by Hilco Merchant Resources,[3] that acted to rapidly liquidate its inventory and close all remaining stores.[6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Ben van der Meer (December 7, 2007). "Levitz Furniture closing all 76 stores, including one in Modesto". Modesto Bee. Archived from the original on December 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-04. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help) Story displays with JavaScript disabled.
  2. ^ a b Donna Hogan. "Levitz closing remaining stores in Arizona". East Valley Tribune.
  3. ^ a b c Clint Swett (December 8, 2007). "Levitz closing all local, U.S. stores". Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on December 10, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-04. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; LEVITZ FURNITURE TO CLOSE 27 STORES AND CUT 1,000 JOBS". The New York Times. December 22, 1998. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
  5. ^ Betty Beard (December 14, 2007). "Tough times in furniture: Levitz one of '07's high-profile closings". the Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  6. ^ a b Dan Richman (December 7, 2007). "Levitz bankruptcy erects hurdles for customers". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  7. ^ "Levitz Furniture to liquidate assets". Los Angeles Times. October 29, 2008. Retrieved 2010-12-30.

Further readingEdit

  • Fruhan, William E., Jr. (March–April 1980). "Levitz Furniture: A Case History in the Creation and Destruction of Shareholder Value". Financial Analysts Journal. 36 (2): 25–32+34–40+42–45. JSTOR 4478328.

See alsoEdit