The Richmond, VA-based chain announced last week that it wouldshutter the stores and lay off 4,400 workers across the nation aspart of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. That's bad news for manyrelatively small towns in the Midwest and South, where the typicalHeilig-Meyers store of 15,000 to 20,000 sf is considered fairlylarge.

But it's a different story out West, experts say. Though thechain plans to close 81 stores in California and a few dozen morein neighboring states, the West Coast retail market has been strongand owners of retail property shouldn't have much trouble replacingHeilig-Meyers with one or more new tenants.

Though the chain has been around for decades, it didn't startexpanding into the West until the mid-1990s, says H-M spokesmanBarry Brockwell. And even after the closures, the 87-year-oldcompany will still have 596 stores and 12,900 employees in 29states.

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