Art Van Furniture Files for Bankruptcy, Will Close Stores

Home furnishings retailer is the latest to file for Chapter 11

art van storefront
Art Van Furniture filed for bankruptcy protection late Sunday, the latest in a series of retail bankruptcies. Art Van Furniture
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Key insight:

Art Van Furniture filed for Chapter 11 protection late Sunday, the latest of several retailers to do so this year, after disclosing last week its plan to wind down operations and proceed to liquidate and shutter all of its company-owned stores.

The liquidations were slated to begin last Friday.

Creative agency The Sussman Agency, owed nearly $8 million, was listed as the top unsecured creditor.

According to reports, the retailer operated 169 stores located in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio. The company does business under the Art Van Furniture, Art Van PureSleep and Scott Shuptrine Interiors names.

In addition, Levin Furniture and Wolf Furniture stores in Ohio and Pennsylvania will be sold to Robert Levin, pending court approval, the company previously said. Eight Wolf Furniture stores in Maryland and Virginia will be closed.

“Despite our best efforts to remain open, the company’s brands and operating performance have been hit hard by a challenging retail environment,” said Art Van Furniture spokeswoman Diane Charles in a statement.

The company is the latest home furnishings retailer to file for bankruptcy, following Pier 1 Imports last month. Online competitors such as Wayfair, as well as the likes of Swedish home furnishing retailer Ikea and a number of new furniture rental entrants are stealing market share from legacy brick-and-mortar retailers.

Chinese tariffs and the impact of coronavirus were also cited as contributors to the company’s demise.

Art Van Furniture was acquired by private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners from company founder Art Van Elslander for more than $600 million in 2017.

Elslander opened his first store in Detroit in 1959 and grew it to become the largest furniture and mattress retailer in the Midwest, according to the company.

@RichCollings Richard Collings is a retail reporter at Adweek.