Bankruptcy

When Is a Diamond Not Forever? In Liquidation

Whitehall Jewelers' 373 stores will have $750m of goods sold in bankruptcy, marking a trend.
Stephen TaubAugust 13, 2008

A group of retail liquidation firms is unloading about $750 million of goods of Whitehall Jewelers Holdings in a court-ordered bankruptcy liquidation sale — one of the larger sales in what one expert calls “the most active period of liquidation sales in 10 years.”

Whitehall, which operates 373 specialty jewelry retail stores, had filed for bankruptcy back in June. Inventory will be liquidated at below market prices, in a sale that is expected to last about four and a half months, which takes it through the holiday shopping season.

Merchandise to be sold will include diamonds, gold, jewelry with precious and semi-precious stones, and watches.

The companies managing the liquidation sale include Hudson Capital Partners LLC; Great American Group LLC; Silverman Jeweler Consultants Inc.; and Gordon Brothers Group LLC.

“The Whitehall liquidation was ordered after exhaustive efforts to sell the specialty retail chain or obtain fresh equity both proved unsuccessful,” said Harvey Yellen, chairman of Great American Group. “As Whitehall has been a leading specialty retailer in fine jewelry for more than a century, it is unfortunate that a brand with such strong heritage has to be liquidated.”

Great American, Hudson Capital Partners, and Silverman Jeweler Consultants also recently managed the liquidation of Friedman’s Jewelers.

James L. Schaye, president and CEO of Hudson Capital Partners, said the recent liquidation-sale activity reflects “a combination of consumer cutbacks on peripheral spending, tightening of retail lenders and a change in bankruptcy code.” The Whitehall liquidation, he added, “will provide a final opportunity to take advantage of great product at extraordinary value.”