Following our report from a week ago that Joseph-Beth Booksellers was closing stores in Pittsburgh and Charlotte, NC, yesterday the group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Lexington, KY and indicated that they will close another store in Cleveland and a Davis-Kidd store in Nashville.
Owner Neil Van Uum said in statement, “Davis-Kidd has been an institution in Nashville. It breaks my heart to have to close this store.” Former co-owner Karen Davis was taken by surprise and “very disappointed and saddened” as well. “I think it holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts.”
The company listed assets and debts of $10 million to $50 million in their court filing. Their largest debtor is Ingram, to whom they owe over $3.5 million; Random House is a distant second, at just under $225,000. In their statement they say “the continuing challenges for the book industry; a weak economy and resulting sales decline; along with economic forecasts for the first half of 2011, represent significant challenges to Joseph-Beth and the entire retail industry.”
But in January of this year, we cited a reported in which Van Uum admitted that the bookstore group had not turned a profit for a decade: “It’s been a bloodbath for 10 years,” he said, insisting that sales of $45 million a year were set to grow this year.
Joseph-Beth says it has arranged debtor-in-possession financing so that they can operate the remaining stores in Cincinnati, Fredericksburg, VA, and at the Cleveland Clinic while they try to reorganize.