Another long-time leading regional consumer electronics retailer is shutting down. Ken Crane’s, one of Southern California’s leading chains for 62 years, is closing its doors and ceasing operations in the next two months.
The company plans to liquidate all existing merchandise in its six locations in Torrance, Hawthorne, Encino, Pasadena, West Los Angeles and Westminster.
The company is a member of the PRO Group buying organization, which in recent years also lost long-time members Tweeter and Flanner’s. (Flanner’s shut its doors in April hoping to re-open, but a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the store is being liquidated.)
Known for specializing in high-end luxury TVs and home theater systems, the family-led business was affected by the recession. A steep decline in same-store sales led to the decision.
“In the past, we have been able to weather these kinds of economic storms because people tend to stay home more, tap into their home equity, upgrade their home entertainment systems, and wait for conditions to improve,” company president Casey Crane says. “Unfortunately, the combination of home foreclosures, tight lending policies and high unemployment combined to create the biggest recession in our company’s history.”
The closure comes on the heels of other large and veteran regional retailers biting the dust, including MyerEmco, Bernie’s and Flanner’s.
In April 2008, Ken Crane’s implemented an aggressive “reduction in force,” making across-the-board cuts in overhead to maintain its viability and manage the uncertain economy. But in January 2010, the company, which operated ten retail locations across Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties, closed four stores and consolidated operations in several areas. Sales volume continued to drop while financing and factoring options became extremely scarce.
“This is unquestionably the most painful business decision our family has ever had to make,” says Crane. “We have been a home for employees, a place of trust for our customers and vendors, and a source of pride and leadership among our competitors for many decades. As painful as this is, we plan to end this as fairly as we can for all concerned.”
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