Tops Calling It Quits

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Tops Home Appliances, the troubled New York-area majap merchant, has decided to pull the plug on its operations.

The decision comes only two weeks after the Edison, N.J.-based business filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors and closed three stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Tops management, lead by CEO Rick Jones, was unavailable for comment, but calls to the retailer's remaining five stores confirmed that liquidation sales will commence shortly. Chicago-based Hilco/Great American Group will reportedly handle the going-out-of-business close outs.

Tops is the latest casualty in a long line of electronics chains that have fallen by the wayside in the overstored New York market, including Brick Church, Crazy Eddie, Newmark & Lewis and Trader Horn.

Tops has been in the red for four of the past five years, and was showing a deficit of $5.74 million through the first nine months of 1999. In a last ditch effort to turn itself around, the retailer withdrew from the CE and home office categories last fall to focus on high-end appliances, housewares and kitchen remodeling. It said this month's voluntary bankruptcy was prompted by increased operating expenses at the three recently-closed stores and by lower than expected sales during the fourth quarter of 1999.

Tops was founded in 1970 by former CEO Leslie Turchin, who built the business from a one-store base. Turchin was succeeded by Jones in 1995, and resigned as a company director in January 1999.

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