Specialty retailer to explore alternatives

An Indianapolis-based appliance and electronics chain is bringing in outside help as it struggles with sinking sales. 
 
Hhgregg announced that it has engaged subsidiaries of Stifel Financial Corp. for advice on potential strategic and financial transactions as the retailer works to improve liquidity and return to profitability.
 
“We are committed to improving our results through our business strategy, including investments made to shift our focus to appliances and furniture, and additional expected cost reductions,” said Robert J. Riesbeck, Hhgregg’s president and CEO. “We believe it is an appropriate time to explore potential strategic transactions.  
 
Founded in 1955, Hhgregg operates 220 stores in 19 states. It has struggled amid increased competition not only from online players but also such traditional chains as J.C. Penney, which has added expanded appliance departments to many of its stores.
 
The retailer reported disappointing results for its most recent quarter, which ended Dec. 31, with sales falling 24% to about $453 million. The chain posted a loss of $58.3 million in the quarter, more than double its $26.9 million loss in the year-ago period. 
 
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