In a hearing on Wednesday, the bankruptcy judge presiding over Christmas Tree Shops’ case called the most recent store closings a “complete breakdown.”
According to Reuters, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Horan changed the company’s bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 liquidation and assigned a court-appointed trustee to supervise the procedure to guarantee that workers receive $1.17 million for the hours they put in during the most recent going-out-of-business sales. Christmas Tree Shops’ attorney said during the hearing that closing-day sales fell $14 million short of expected revenue.
Eight locations could be found in Massachusetts
According to me, there has been a complete breakdown, stated Horan. It is simply unacceptable to run this case on the backs of the employees.
Last Saturday, all 49 of the remaining Christmas Tree Shops—including 18 in New England—closed. Eight locations could be found in Massachusetts, four in Connecticut, two in Maine, two in New Hampshire, two in Rhode Island, and one in each of Vermont and Rhode Island.
Just two Massachusetts locations were on the initial list of stores to be closed when the well-known brand filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year.
If you’ve lived in New England long enough, you’re aware that Christmas Tree Shops is a mainstay, offering anything from toys and food to kitchen appliances and outdoor furniture.
Christmas Tree Shops started on Cape Cod in the 1950s and is now based in Middleboro, Massachusetts. Until earlier this year, the chain ran 82 stores in 20 states.
The company has been under new ownership since Bed Bath & Beyond sold them in 2020.
Reject all attorney fees unless the workers were paid
The Wall Street Journal said the company defaulted on a $45 million bankruptcy loan, meaning that instead of closing just a small number of stores and looking to emerge from bankruptcy this August they now have to sell off all of its remaining stores unless a last minute buyer can be found.
According to the lender for the insolvent discount retailer, management chaos in the last weeks of Christmas Tree Shops Inc. will prevent store employees from receiving bonuses they were falsely promised to stay on the job during going-out-of-business sales.
Before US Bankruptcy Judge Thomas M. Horan vowed to reject all attorney fees unless the workers were paid, a dispute between company managers and the lender who funded the chain’s liquidation threatened to prevent paychecks for about 1,500 store employees.