Report: Former Gottschalks CEO to launch new retail chain

Fresno, Calif. Joe Levy, former chairman and CEO of Gottschalks, said Monday that he has formed a new company with the intention of launching a new retail chain run by executives of the former Gottschalk organization, The Modesto Bee reported.

The new company, called Gottschalk by Joe Levy Inc., will try to leverage the familiarity with the Gottschalks name, according to the report

“The object here is to bring the public what Gottschalks used to be," Levy said. "We want to provide good customer service, high-quality fashions and merchandise at a very competitive price. Since Gottschalks closed, there's a large void in that type of merchandising."

The Gottschalks chain filed for bankruptcy in January 2009, and the last of its 58 stores closed during the summer.

Levy, 78, has not yet revealed how many stores he's planning, where they would open or when.

Robert Wiser, a former VP and general merchandise manager for the old Gottschalks, is the CEO of the new company, the newspaper reported. Robert Lawson, a former CFO for Gottschalks through the early 1990s, and who was terminated in 1992 under accusations of tax fraud, will fill the CFO role with Levy's new effort.

The new company will be privately owned.

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