Byline: Thomas J. Ryan

NEW YORK — County Seat Stores Inc. has received bankruptcy court approval to close 196 of its 695 stores, primarily in the Northeast and West.
The chain will close 23 of its 32 stores in New York, 11 of 31 in Pennsylvania, all eight in Connecticut, seven of 11 in Massachusetts and five of 14 in New Jersey.
In the West, all 11 stores in California, all nine in Washington, all five in Oregon and all four in Arizona will close.
In all, 163 County Seat stores and all 33 County Seat outlets will go dark. The three Old Farmer’s Almanac stores, a new format selling apparel and gifts, are up for sale.
Hilco-Great American, in Woodland Hills, Calif., has been hired to liquidate 110 stores and has guaranteed a cash return of 42.5 percent of the retail value of the inventory in the stores. County Seat is closing the other stores and has already shut down about 40. Going-out-of-business sales are slated to be done by yearend.
About 1,000 employees will lose their jobs, but no cuts are expected at corporate offices in Dallas and Minneapolis. The company is looking to fill some positions that have been vacant since prior to the Chapter 11 filing last Oct. 17, according to a spokeswoman. This includes a full-time chief executive officer with a merchandising background.