Bankrupt Ritz Camera Heads for Liquidation After Failing to Find Buyer
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Bankrupt Ritz Camera Heads for Liquidation After Failing to Find Buyer

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October 1, 2012

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A few months after filing for bankruptcy, Ritz Camera & Image LLC is headed for liquidation after failing to find a buyer for its retail camera stores, according to a report from Reuters.

The camera chain, which has been in business for 94 years, failed to find a buyer during a bankruptcy auction and sources expect a U.S. bankruptcy judge to hand the company over to a team of liquidation specialists that submitted the highest auction bid.

According to the company’s chief restructuring officer, Marc Weinsweig, Ritz failed to find a bidder willing to purchase its assets and keep the stores in business, and the company believed that selling its stores to the liquidators "will result in the realization of the maximum amount possible."

Fortunately, not all of Ritz’s work in the technology realm will be lost. While the liquidators will sell the company’s physical assets, C&A Marketing, an online retailer, will reportedly buy the bulk of Ritz’s intellectual property rights.

And the end of Ritz’s reign as a camera retailing giant did not come as a surprise. The company has been struggling financially for years. A few years ago, after filing for its first bankruptcy, Ritz still had about 375 stores nationwide.

But life after bankruptcy proved just as hard, due mostly to external market factors, and Ritz filed again this June. At the time of its latest filing, Ritz only has 265 stores, and during the last few months, the number of stores dropped to 137.

In addition, the company reportedly plans to cut nearly 4,000 jobs by the end of this year. Ritz’s demise mirrors that of Kodak, its former rival, which also filed for bankruptcy this summer after failing to keep up with its foreign competitors.

The last two decades have seen rapid change in the consumer photography industry, as consumers have shifted towards digital photography, which allows them to circumvent the traditional photo development process that required the aid of experts like Ritz and Kodak.

As their revenues declined, these companies were left with more debt and less capital, which has forced many brick-and-mortar camera stores to seek debt relief in bankruptcy court.


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