Atlanta, Ga. - National photo retailer Wolf Camera has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors.
Founder Chuck Wolf pointed to the company's 1998 acquisition of the 450-store CPI/Fox Photo and Proex chains from Eastman Kodak, as the primary reason for the need to file for protection. The acquisition was the culmination of an aggressive growth-through-acquisition strategy that drove Wolf's store count from 100 stores in 1990 to over 700 units by 1999. The company has since scaled back to 500 stores in 20 states and laid off f about 2,000 employees.
'The reality is we have been unable to digest our acquisition of Fox Photo,' said Wolf, who in hindsight called the purchase 'a mistake.'
According to Wolf's executive vice president for corporate strategy Stephen LaMastra, the chain has the support of its lenders and largest vendor, Kodak, which will minimize the impact on customers and employees as the company reorganizes.
All stores are currently open for business, although an unspecified number of underperforming units will be closed and a 'minimal' number of workers pink slipped to help return Wolf to profitability.