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HOUSTON-Weiner’s Stores Inc., a 75-year-old Houston-based family retailer, is closing 44 of its stores, following the retailer’s move yesterday to file for Chapter 11 reorganization under the Federal bankruptcy code. Approximately 1,100 employees will be laid off. Weiner’s sells clothing, electronics, toys, athletic wear and household goods in competition with other discounters. Currently, Weiner’s employs approximately 3,750 people at 141 stores in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama. Ninety-seven stores will remain after the company restructures.

Twelve of the 43 Weiner’s stores in Houston will be closed, the company says. In addition, Weiner’s is closing all four of its stores in Little Rock, AR. Texas store closings include all four stores in the Beaumont area, five of 13 in the Northeast, two of five in Corpus Christi and one of 10 in San Antonio. No stores will be closed in Austin, Dallas-Ft. Worth, El Paso, the Rio Grande Valley or Southwest Texas. Stores in Mississippi and Alabama also will remain open, but a number of its Louisiana stores will be shut down.

Weiner’s has experienced operating losses through the first half of fiscal 2000 fueled by significant declines in sales of nationally branded goods, resulting in cash flow problems. “While we are disappointed that we had to seek the bankruptcy court’s protection, our cash-flow problems at the time we were purchasing inventory for the forthcoming holiday season made it necessary,” says Raymond J. Miller, Weiner’s chairman and CEO. The company will substantially redesign its merchandising and marketing in early 2001.

“Weiner’s will be the only first-quality full product-line store conveniently located in predominantly urban inner city markets. We expect this unique positioning to provide the company the ability to profitably weather consumer-buying fads and market shifts,” Miller says.

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