Chapter 11? Levitz Loves It

Will the third time be the charm for the troubled furniture company?
Sarah JohnsonNovember 9, 2007

Privately held Levitz Furniture has filed for bankruptcy protection for the third time in 10 years.

Filing for reorganization on Thursday because it doesn’t have enough cash to support the business, the New York–based company does plan to keep its 76 stores open. Most of Levitz’s retail locations are in Northeast and West Coast metropolitan areas, where the company is known for its indelible slogan, “You’ll love it at Levitz.”

As part of its Chapter 11 filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, Levitz asked to stay open to at least be able to fulfill customer orders and maintain payroll and employee benefits. But its hopes seem to extend beyond that: “We are hopeful this filing will enable the business to emerge stronger and better positioned for long-term success,” says Larry Zigerelli, who became chief executive officer of Levitz nearly a year ago.

To be sure, the long-term success of the business has been in question before. Levitz previously filed for bankruptcy in 1997 and emerged in 2001, according to the Associated Press. Its rebirth was made possible via a merger with rival Seaman Furniture through a $95 million asset-based loan. Four years later, the company again filed for Chapter 11 protection and closed 35 stores, the AP notes. The reorganized company was then snatched up by Prentice Capital Management and Great American Group, according to the wire service.

Levitz owes more than $28 million to its vendors, including $1.4 million to Sealy Mattress and $717,270 to Serta Mattress, according to court filings.