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Ritz Camera stores to close

Posted: September 18, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 18, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

After 94 years of business, the remaining 137 Ritz Camera stores are going out of business, a spokesman for the company announced last week. The company plans to liquidate its inventory of more than $25 million worth of photography equipment.

The camera store at the Westfield Valencia Town Center closed some time ago.

Ritz Camera Centers Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early 2009, and planned to close some 300 stores nationwide at the time. In mid-2009, a group which included members of the founding Ritz family, agreed to purchase the company stores for $33.1 million.

By November 2009, the new company, called Ritz Camera & Image, stocked its stores with a wider range of products including televisions, laptop computers and smartphones.

But efforts to revive the company failed, and unable to find a new buyer, it filed bankruptcy again in June 2012. At the time, the retailer planned to keep the 137 stores open, but, last week, it announced it would close all remaining stores – which includes 13 California stores.

On the websites for many of those stores, the retailers have announcements posted that they will re-open online under new management as RitzCamera.com on Nov. 1.

Ritz, once the largest camera retail chain in the country, said it employed some 1,960 people. But the company suffered in recent years from the recession, inadequate capital and the dramatic growth of digital cameras and services which resulted in declining need for in-store photo processing services.

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