Vann's Preparing To File Chapter 11

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New York - Vann's, the 51-year-old electronics/appliance retailer based in Missoula, Mont., with five stores, is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

CEO Jerry McConnell told TWICE that Vann's is waiting to finalize documents that will be filed on Friday and that by Monday, Aug. 6, "we will start the week in court."

McConnell confirmed that the chain lost its credit line, but noted that its five Vann's stores are operating profitably as is, but more work has to be done on the online side.

The CEO, who joined Vann's in mid-June, is a turnaround specialist and noted that the chain has a "significant upside" and few "liabilities" with a "great reputation." Given the economy Vann's now needs "to take a step back, reorganize and come back."

Vann's operates two sister companies: Big Sky Country, an outdoor apparel and sporting goods site, and On Store, a specialty A/V and IT shop.

McConnell said that with Big Sky Country, "we got out of our sandbox" since the company had no experience in that business. Vann's is in the process of selling it as an ongoing concern.

On Store resembles an Apple Store, McConnell said, which does the bulk of its volume from the back-to-school season to the holiday season. "We will see by the end of the year where we are with it and if it is a format we might want to replicate."

 Vann's is a member of the Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group), and Dave Workman, executive director/COO, said McConnell has contacted him to make him aware of the situation.

The chain's longtime CEO George Manlove was

replaced by McConnell

in mid-June.

Manlove joined

subwoofer-maker Velodyne Acoustics in mid-July as global sales and marketing VP.

Vann's ranks 66th in the TWICE Top 100 CE Retailers Report, with $77 million in annual sales, and is 72nd on the TWICE Top 100 Major Appliance Retailers Report, with $17 million in sales, both for calendar year 2011.


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