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Roberds To File For Chapter 11; Closes Cincinnati Megastore

Losses averaging $1 million a month from January 1998 through September 1999 have prompted home furnishings retailer Roberds to seek Chapter 11 protection and to close or sell 10 of its 24 stores, including its three-year-old, 250,000-square-foot flagship megastore in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“It finally became a matter of company survival in a very competitive industry,” explained CEO Mel Baskin, citing a $21 million loss for the 21-month period. “We have made numerous efforts to save Roberds, but no company can sustain these loses for an extended period of time.”

In addition to closing the Cincinnati site, the chain will exit the Tampa, Fla., market by shutting all eight of its stores and its distribution center there, and will put its Buckhead unit in Atlanta, Ga., up for sale. It expects to file a bankruptcy petition on Wednesday.

Roberds, which reported sales of $287 million in 1999, sells name-brand home furnishings including furniture, bedding, major appliances and consumer electronics. It ranked 86 on TWICE’s Top 100 CE Retail Registry last year.