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Boscov's is flexing some retail muscle

Published November 28. 2009 09:00AM

While the Christmas shopping season began in a frenzy at many stores Friday morning, it began a day earlier at Boscov's.

A year ago, Boscov's had many doubters that it would still exist this year - it's 98th year in business.

The store, earlier in the year, had gone into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Liabilities were listed in excess of $479-million,compared to assets of $538.

Al Boscov, who was the former chairman of the company, came out of retirement and put together an investment team, which included his son-in-law Edwin Lakin. They lined up $250 million in financing.

Ten 10 underperforming stores were closed in the restructuring and the chain secured a loan from the state.

Boscov, speaking at the annual convention of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association in Hershey earlier this month, assured the media, "We're not only meeting our goals, we're beating the goals."

To get a head-start on the seasonal shopping frenzy, the store opened on Thanksgiving Day.

Boscov had retired in 2006 after leading the chain to become one of the most successful chains on the East Coast.

Bankruptcy papers were filed August 4, 2008 and it appeared the assets of the store were going to be dissolved.

Last Nov. 20, just days before Black Friday, a federal bankruptcy court judge approved the sale to Boscov and Lakin. The judge, Judge Kevin Gross, praised Boscov for his initiative and efforts, stating, "This is really a testament to the purchasers here."

One of Boscov's continued practices has been regular newspaper inserts. During one of the busienest times of the year, shoppers were directed to sales with four different inserts.

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