California Specialty Retailer Ken Crane's to Close
Citing a “steep, relentless decline in same-store sales activity,” the 62-year-old Southern California retail fixture Ken Crane’s announced today that it will cease operations within 60 days.
The chain, which reduced its store count to six from 10 in January, will begin inventory liquidation in its Torrance, Hawthorne, Encino, Pasadena, West L.A. and Westminster locations immediately.
The family-run business, which built its reputation on customer service excellence and was often used by manufacturers as a market launchpad for new technologies and product categories on the West Coast, experienced its best sales in 2006, growing that year by more than 40 percent, but in more recent times was “powerfully affected by the nation’s unusually severe and continuing economic downturn,” said a company statement. In April 2008, the company made what it termed aggressive across-the-board cuts, but found that by early this year it had to close locations across Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties, and consolidate operations in several areas. “Sales volume continued to drop while financing and factoring options became extremely scarce,” the statement said.
“In the past, we have been able to weather these kinds of economic storms because people tend to stay home more, tap into their home equity, upgrade their home entertainment systems, and wait for conditions to improve,” company president Casey Crane said. “Unfortunately, the combination of home foreclosures, tight lending policies and high unemployment combined to create the biggest recession in our company’s history.
“This is unquestionably the most painful business decision our family has ever had to make,” said Crane. “We have been a home for employees, a place of trust for our customers and vendors, and a source of pride and leadership among our competitors for many decades. As painful as this is, we plan to end this as fairly as we can for all concerned.