By Randall Chase, Business Week
Dover, Delaware—Ritz Camera Centers, the nation's largest retail photography chain, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The Beltsville, Md.-based company submitted its filing Sunday in federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, estimating assets and liabilities at between $100 million and $500 million. The list of its top 30 unsecured creditors is led by Nikon Inc. and Canon USA Inc., which are owed a combined $40 million in trade debt.
The company said revenue from its profitable photofinishing business has declined significantly with the shift from film to digital cameras, and that 2008 holiday sales were "materially lower" than prior year sales. It also said an increase in gasoline prices, along with other economic factors, led to a sharp drop in sales in its Boater's World recreational marine business last year.
Ritz has about 800 photo stores in 40 states, operating as Ritz Camera, Wolf Camera, Kits Cameras, Inkley's and The Camera Shops....
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(Thanks to Les Hibbert and Jeffrey Greer)