Crown Books to seek bankruptcy protection

Maryland Watch

July 09, 1998

Crown Books Corp. said yesterday that it will begin a voluntary filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The move comes as the Landover-based book retailer continues to struggle to keep up with Barnes and Noble Inc. and Borders Group Inc. Crown said it lost $48.7 million in 1997.

"They're really buying time," said Robert E. Robotti, a New York analyst who follows Crown. "They're trying to maximize assets and minimize liabilities, making everything available for creditors and giving them better negotiating power with leaseholders."

Company spokesman Tom Rice would not comment on the filing.

Richfood Holdings Inc., the Richmond, Va., wholesale food distributor that acquired Crown via its purchase in May of Dart Group Corp., said it is exploring alternatives for the business. Richfood also said Crown is running short of cash to keep operating.

Options include a possible sale to First Lincoln Holdings Inc., a New York-based liquidator.

The chain has 177 stores nationwide. It has two stores each in Anne Arundel and Howard counties, among 14 in Maryland.

Pub Date: 7/09/98

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