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Ken Crane’s Closing

Hawthorne, Calif. – Ken Crane’s, a fixture in Southern California TV
retailing, is liquidating all merchandise and will shut its doors within 60

The privately held business found itself “powerfully affected by the
nation’s unusually severe and continuing economic downturn,” the Crane family
said in a statement, and “a steep, relentless decline in same-store sales
activity led to the difficult decision.”

The 62-year-old business shut four of its 10 stores in January as part of
a restructuring that also saw the departure of senior VP/COO Steve Caldero.

“This is unquestionably the most painful business decision our family has
ever had to make,” said president Casey Crane. “We have been a home for
employees, a place of trust for our customers and vendors, and a source of
pride and leadership among our competitors for many decades. As painful as this
is, we plan to end this as fairly as we can for all concerned.”

The chain, founded in 1948 by
Casey’s father Ken as a Magnavox-exclusive dealer, was a high-service specialty
A/V retailer renowned for being a West
Coast showcase for new products and technologies, including Panasonic’s
103-inch plasma display, which it presented exclusively in California in 2007.

The company posted its best year ever in 2006, growing by more than 40
percent. But by April of 2008, after being battered by the
ailing Southern California housing market and weak local economy, Ken Crane’s implemented an aggressive
workforce reduction, making across-the-board cuts in overhead to maintain its

“In the past, we have been able to weather these kinds of economic storms
because people tend to stay home more, tap into their home equity, upgrade
their home entertainment systems, and wait for conditions to improve,” Crane
said. “Unfortunately, the combination of home foreclosures, tight lending
policies and high unemployment combined to create the biggest recession in our
company’s history.”

Ken Crane’s is the second Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group)
dealer to close its doors this season, following Flanner’s Home Entertainment
into liquidation.

“We may not be the first consumer electronics retailer to close in
Southern California, but I sure hope we are the last,” Crane said.