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HHGregg going out of business, closing 2 stores in Columbia

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HHGregg, an Indianapolis-based big-box retailer of electronics, appliances and furniture, has announced plans to close all of its 220 stores, including two in Columbia, by the end of May.

The company’s going-out-of-business sale was announced after the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana approved HHGregg’s plan to liquidate the assets beginning Saturday, April 8. HHGregg had been looking for a buyer since filing March 6 for financial protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy code.

“While we had discussions with more than 50 private equity firms, strategic buyers, and other investors, unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in our plan to secure a viable buyer of the business on a going-concern basis within the expedited timeline set by our creditors,” Bob Riesbeck, president and CEO, said in a statement.

In a February 2016 interview with the Indianapolis Star, Riesbeck said the company’s business model that emphasized “caring customer service” was disrupted by changing technology.

"One thing HHGregg used to make their money on was those big-box TVs people had to have delivered," Riesbeck told The Star. "And that's how HHGregg was built through the years. Once it went to flat panels, and all of a sudden people realized they could put them in the backseat of their car, delivery's not that important anymore."

In the Midlands, HHGregg operates stores at Columbiana Station in the Harbison retail submarket and the Village at Sandhill in Northeast Columbia.

Founded in 1955, HHGregg has five other stores in South Carolina and operates in 19 states. About 5,500 employees will be laid off.

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