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PORTLAND-Following a recent bankruptcy filing, the 128-year-old department store chain Montgomery Ward said Thursday it is shutting down all 250 stores across the nation after 128 years in business. The Chicago-based retailer operates 10 stores in the Northwest, including seven in Oregon and three in Washington. All stores will be shuttered in the coming month as remaining inventory is sold off.

Montgomery Ward employs hundreds at four Portland-area stores, but also has locations in Eugene, Salem and in the Central Oregon city of Medford. In Washington, the stores all are located outside the state’s most populated areas, in Longview, Spokane and Yakima.

This is the second time the company has filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Wards reorganized from 1997 through 1999. In the process, it closed some 150 stores, only one of which was in Oregon. Remaining stores were remodeled, which led to higher sales. But heavy competition from the likes of Home Depot, Best Buy, Target and Gap – along with weak holiday sales this year – helped owner GE Capital decide to pull the plug. As a result, this latest Chapter 11 reorganization filing is expected soon to become a Chapter 7 liquidation.

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