By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Edison, N.J. – Abe’s of Maine, the 33-year-old direct CE seller, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
According to a bankruptcy court filing on Nov. 5, the company sought Chapter 11 protection to reduce debt, improve liquidity, and find a backer to bolster its “long-term growth prospects and operating potential.”
Total fiscal year sales through June 30 were about $87 million, down from $110 million in 2011 and $115 million in 2010.
President and founder Abraham Mosseri said he plans to sell or liquidate the business if an investor cannot be found. He currently employs 41 staffers.
Abe’s largest creditors and the amounts owed them include the distributor Wynit, $531,905; Pentax, $321,020; Warrentech, $215,893; D&H Distributing, $200,453; Nikon, $189,187; and KitchenAid (Whirlpool), $123,407.
The e-tailer’s estimated assets are between $1 million and $10 million, including $2.5 million in inventory, and the company carries “substantial debt” of $11 million, the court filings show.
The privately held business was founded by Mosseri in 1979 as a mom-and-pop photo dealer in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. The company moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1986, and in 2006 relocated again to a significantly larger facility in Edison, N.J., where it also maintains a storefront.
Abe’s had since expanded its assortment to span the full gamut of consumer electronics, as well as pro audio, DJ equipment and major appliances.
The company, which sells direct online, through third-party sites including Amazon.com, via a catalog, and from its lone storefront, ranked 56th in TWICE’s Top 100 CE Retailers Report.
The bankruptcy petition was filed in the New York Eastern District of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
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