Byline: Vicki M. Young

NEW YORK — Weiner’s Stores Inc. on Monday filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition in Delaware to reorganize under bankruptcy court protection.
The 75-year-old Houston-based family retailer said it has been experiencing operating losses through the first half of 2000. Court papers were not immediately available.
Raymond J. Miller, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement: “While we are disappointed that we had to seek the bankruptcy court’s protection, our cash flow problems at the time we were purchasing inventory for the forthcoming holiday season made it necessary.”
He said that the retailer was seeking Delaware bankruptcy court approval of a $35 million debtor-in-possession financing facility.
In connection with its restructuring, the retailer is closing 44 underperforming sites. About 1,100 employees will be affected, Weiner’s said. After the store closures, the retailer would operate 97 stores.
Weiner’s said it will “substantially redesign its merchandising and marketing in early 2001.” The retailer plans on transforming its specialty stores to include small appliances, toys, housewares, furniture and bed and bath shops. According to Miller, “sales of home products are up 60 percent this year and toys and electronics are up approximately 40 percent.”
Weiner’s targets inner-city markets.
In its latest quarterly report, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Sept. 21, the company reported staggering losses from the prior-year periods.
For the quarter ended July 29, Weiner’s had a $5 million loss on total revenue of $62.7 million. In the comparable year-ago period, the retailer reported $463,000 in income on total sales of $79.5 million. For the second half, the company’s losses were $5.5 million on total revenue of $129.1 million, which includes $442,000 in revenue from leased departments. In the year-ago period, the retailer amassed $2.5 million in income on sales of $149.1 million.

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