Whitehall Jewelers is in full liquidation mode with sales beginning today.
A joint venture of national retail liquidation and asset recovery firms — Hudson Capital Partners, Great American Group, Silverman Jeweler Consultants and Gordon Brothers Group — will manage the court-ordered bankruptcy liquidation sales.
Whitehall filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition in June for reorganization in a Delaware bankruptcy court after acquiring Friedman’s Inc., a bankrupt jewelry chain, for $14.3 million in April. The acquisition, which included certain assets of Crescent Jewelers, previously acquired by Whitehall, added about 78 units to the debtor’s store count.
By May, Chicago-based Whitehall operated 375 stores in 39 states. But the acquisition of Friedman’s in the hope of expanding the business came too late. In fiscal 2007, Whitehall posted a net loss of $74.1 million, or $2.25 a share, outpacing the loss of $45.9 million, or $1.81, in the previous year. Sales declined 8.8 percent to $242.9 million from $266.2 million in fiscal 2006.
It is expected that the Whitehall inventory will be liquidated at below-market prices. The sale, which could last four-and-a-half months, will include diamonds, gold, precious and semiprecious jewelry and watches.
“We’re the biggest jewelry retailer right now in the U.S.,” said James L. Schaye, president and chief executive officer of Hudson Capital Partners. “We’re selling about $1.2 billion worth of inventory that is from both Whitehall and Friedman’s.”
Schaye noted that a combination of consumer cutbacks on peripheral spending, tighter terms among retail lenders and a change in the bankruptcy code have led firms such as his to experience the “most active period of liquidation sales in 10 years.”
Along with Great American Group and Silverman Jeweler Consultants, Schaye’s firm also managed the liquidation of Friedman’s Jewelers.
“Whitehall has been a leading specialty retailer in fine jewelry for more than a century,” said Harvey Yellen, chairman of Great American Group. “It is unfortunate that a brand with such strong heritage has to be liquidated.”
Whitehall negotiated an $80 million debtor-in-possession financing facility from Bank of America, Wells Fargo Retail Finance and GMAC Commercial Finance. The DIP facility replaced the $125 million revolving credit facility it had before its Chapter 11 filing. That line was enough to keep the jewelry retailer in operation until its liquidation.
Whitehall listed assets of $207.1 million and debts of $185.4 million. Among the top trade creditors are: SDC, or Sangam Diamonds Corp., New York, $11.3 million; Kiran Jewels Inc., New York, $9.4 million; Combine International, Troy, Mich., $7.1 million; Rosy Blue, New York, $6.9 million; Envisions, New York, $4.5 million, and Leo Schachter Diamonds, New York, $4.1 million.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)