GOTTSCHALKS TO BUY SITES OF LAMONTS

Byline: Vicki M. Young

NEW YORK — Bankrupt Lamonts Apparel Inc. will begin going-out-of-business sales on May 10, and its 38 store sites will be acquired by Gottschalks Inc. for $19 million.
According to a source close to the deal, unsecured creditors will recover between 25 and 40 cents on the dollar. They are expected to receive their recovery by yearend.
Gottschalks said in a statement that its acquisition of sites, which is still subject to Seattle bankruptcy court approval and an overbid court auction procedure, could be completed as early as July. A hearing is set for May 15 for court approval of the purchase, as well as to allow third parties to outbid Gottschalks for the 38 sites. The Fresno, Calif.-based regional department store chain operates 42 stores and 20 specialty apparel stores in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. It would gain 38 stores spread throughout Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington from the Kirkland, Wash.-based Lamonts.
The source said that the chain is likely to operate the sites under the Gottschalks name. The Lamonts name is not a part of the Gottschalks purchase, and there are no present plans to sell the Lamonts trade name.
Store employees and managers are likely to get job offers from Gottschalks, Lamonts said Tuesday in a statement. The 115 employees at corporate headquarters, however, will remain employed only until June 24.
A bankruptcy court hearing is set for May 8 for approval of the inventory liquidation sales. A spokeswoman for Lamonts said the company is currently reviewing proposals from different liquidators.

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