By Stephanie M. Acree
Bakers Footwear Group Inc. won court approval to liquidate its remaining 56 stores Jan. 9 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (In re Bakers Footwear Group Inc., Bankr. E.D. Mo., No. 4:12-bk-49658-705 (CER), motion granted 1/9/13).
Judge Charles E. Rendlen III granted the debtor's motion to “sell certain merchandise, furniture, fixtures, and equipment … in store closing sales to be conducted at the [d]ebtor's retail locations … and through the [d]ebtor's website operations, free and clear of liens, claims and encumbrances.” According to the debtor's motion, it had “concluded in the exercise of its business judgment, that it [would] not be able to restructure its business operations or to confirm a plan of reorganization” and that liquidation would likely provide the “greatest possible return to creditors.”
Attorney for Bakers Footwear Brian C. Walsh said at the hearing on the motion that as late as Jan. 8, the debtor was working to “finalize an agreement with a purchaser who had offered to purchase certain assets” but that those discussions had been terminated. Therefore, Walsh said, the debtor has decided to proceed with the liquidation in order to “make the best of it.”
Walsh noted that there were several objections filed to the motion, including several from landlords, but that most of the issues in the objections had been resolved. There was a remaining objection concerning unpaid rent but the court deferred the rent issue to Jan. 30, 2013.
Bakers Footwear, a retailer of women's shoes that was founded in 1926, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Oct. 3, 2012 (24 BBLR 1303, 10/11/12).
Full text of the debtor's motion is available at: /uploadedFiles/Content/News/Legal_and_Business/Bloomberg_Law/Legal_Reports/Bakers-Footwear-Motion-for-Asset-Sale(1).pdf
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