Afederal bankruptcy court judge has approved plans by Macy’s and Forever 21 to buy 15 sites of bankrupt retailer Gottschalks, according to a report published Wednesday in The Fresno Bee.
Macy's and specialty retailer Forever 21 were the prevailing bidders in a May 28 auction for unexpired shopping center leases and real estate owned by Gottschalks. But the deals could not be finalized without the court's approval.
Gottschalks CEO James Famalette confirmed Wednesday that the judge OK'd the deals, which will now give Gottschalks millions of dollars to help repay creditors.
The 15 sites to be purchased are in California, Washington and Alaska.
Macy's is putting up an estimated $2.2 million, in its bid and other expenses, to take over Gottschalks' leases in the Fresno area. Forever 21's bid and other costs to take over 13 stores are valued at almost $17.2 million, court records show.
The sales could close by this week, according to court documents. It's unclear when Forever 21 or Macy's would open in any of the locations, because liquidators are still holding going-out-of-business sales at most of Gottschalks' 58 stores to clear out merchandise, fixtures and equipment. Those sales are supposed to be completed by mid-July.
Jim Sluzewski, Macy's senior VP for corporate communications, said store size and the age of the building are among the factors the company considered in making its bids for stores in Fresno and nearby Visalia, Calif.
When Gottschalks filed for bankruptcy in mid-January, it operated 58 department stores and three specialty stores in the western U.S. But most of the stores, as well as Gottschalks' corporate headquarters in north Fresno and its distribution center in Madera, attracted no bids in the May 28 auction, leaving unclear what will happen to the properties.