* Camera chain plans to close after 94 years
* Liquidators submitted top bid at bankruptcy auction
* Kodak, also bankrupt, to cut another 1,000 jobs
By Jonathan Stempel and Tom Hals
Sept 10 Ritz Camera & Image LLC plans to go out
of business after 94 years as it failed in a bankruptcy auction
to find a buyer to keep the largest U.S. specialty camera retail
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross in Wilmington, Delaware on
Monday approved a plan to turn over most of Ritz's assets to
liquidation specialists Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC and
Hilco Merchant Resources LLC, the high bidders at a Sept. 6
auction, court records show.
"The debtors received no bid to purchase substantially all
of the debtors' business and assets as a going concern," and
believes a sale to the liquidators "will result in the
realization of the maximum amount possible," Chief Restructuring
Officer Marc Weinsweig said in a court filing.
C&A Marketing Inc, an online retailer, plans to acquire some
of Ritz's intellectual property assets, court records show.
Ritz filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors on June
22, less than three years after emerging from an earlier
bankruptcy under the ownership of a group led by President David
Ritz, part of its founding family.
The Beltsville, Maryland-based company, which will close its
remaining 137 stores, has said it has struggled in recent years
with inadequate capital and liquidity, amid a shift by consumers
toward digital photography and photo-sharing and lessened
reliance on in-store photo processing.
Ritz's lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for
Eastman Kodak Co announced plans on Monday to cut
1,000 jobs by year end, on top of 2,700 eliminated this year,
after receiving lower-than-expected bids in a bankruptcy auction
of 1,100 patents to help repay creditors. It also said Chief
Operating Officer Philip Faraci and Chief Financial Officer
Antoinette McCorvey are leaving the company.
Ritz had about 375 stores when it emerged from its earlier
bankruptcy, and had reduced that number to about 265 in 30 U.S.
states by the time of its latest bankruptcy. The company in June
said it employed about 1,960 people.
The case is In re: Ritz Camera & Image LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy
Court, District of Delaware, No. 12-11868.