Hastings cites new initiatives in answer to bankruptcy question

Posted by Karen Welch on
Hastings spokesman said retailer is launching new store model.
Hastings website screenshot

By Karen Welch — Senior Content Producer

A Hastings Entertainment spokesman Thursday pointed to initiatives the company is taking to improve its performance but did not address Bloomberg’s report of rumored plans the retailer might file bankruptcy.

Kevin Ball, vice president of marketing for the Amarillo-based retail chain, did not answer a question for comment regarding Bloomberg’s report but offered, instead, to send an emailed statement.

Bloomberg quoted unnamed sources in its report from Wednesday. 

The statement Ball emailed said:

“As part of our ongoing efforts to improve our business performance, Hastings is executing a number of initiatives, including launching a new store model in 20 locations, which are already showing improved performance; making our Company more attractive for our customers, current owners and potential investors; and optimizing our business for long-term success. We will provide updates as there is news to share.”

Those plans do not include the Pampa store which is being closed because it wasn’t making enough operating profit, according to news release the company issued Monday.

That store, at 1205 N. Hobart St., employs nearly 30 full- and part-time associates. A liquidation sale will run through September, and gift cards can be redeemed through www.gohastings.com, a news release said.

Hastings currently operates 123 stores, not including the Pampa location, Ball said.

At its largest, the chain consisted of as many as 154 stores in 2006. But was down to 130 in 2013, according to its filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Hastings employed as many as 6,950, its peak workforce number, in 2004 in operations in numerous states.

In 2014, Hastings shareholders approved a $21.4 million deal under which New Jersey licensing executive Joel Weinshanker and his Draw A Circle limited liability company purchased Hastings and took the company private.

A call for comment placed to Weinshanker was not returned Thursday.

Hastings was founded in Amarillo in 1968. Industry analysts have attributed its woes to mail and Internet delivery of its once-core products – books, music and videos. Weinshanker, owner of National Entertainment Collectibles Association, fit with the retailer’s growing focus on pop culture products, analysts said.

Weinshanker’s resume includes acquiring the operating rights to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, in 2013. 

Karen Welch is a senior content producer for Panhandle PBS. She can be contacted at Karen.Welch@actx.edu, at @KWelch806 on Twitter and at www.facebook.com/karensmithwelch on Facebook.

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