Struggling Indianapolis-based electronics and appliance retailer hhgregg has filed for bankruptcy and lined up a buyer.

The store chain, which has big box stores in Highland and Hobart, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which will allow it to restructure its debt and remain a going concern. The company plans to close 88 stores nationwide, including six in Illinois, as it retrenches to be leaner and more efficient. The Hobart and Highland stores will remain open.

"We've given it a valiant effort over the past 12 months," President and CEO Robert J. Riesbeck said. "We have conducted an extensive review of alternatives and believe pursuing a restructuring through Chapter 11 is the best path forward to ensure hhgregg's long-term success."

After a tough holiday season, retailers such as Wet Seal, The Limited, MC Sports and American Apparel also filed for bankruptcy. Macy's, Kmart, Sears and J.C. Penney collectively plan to close more than 500 stores nationwide.

The company said the reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana will let the company return to profitability after two straight years of annual losses.

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"We have solidified our senior management team and everyone is dedicated to restructuring our business model for future profitability and growth," Riesbeck said.

The company said it expects to emerge from bankruptcy in 60 days and has lined up an $80 million loan from Wells Fargo to ensure its short-term liquidity. It is not disclosing its buyer yet. It will continue to operate 132 stores, but is closing Illinois locations in Bloomingdale, Arlington Heights, Niles, Springfield and Champaign.

Spokeswoman Chantal Kowalski said it would continue to operate 12 locations in Illinois, including in south suburban Orland Park and Joliet. 

"After careful evaluation, hhgregg decided to strategically exit markets and store locations that are not financially profitable," she said. "It was a proactive decision to streamline our store footprint in the markets where we have been, and will continue to be, important to our customers, vendor partners and communities."


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.