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Ritz Camera Files Bankruptcy Second Time in Three Years

Ritz Camera & Image LLC, which calls itself the largest U.S. chain of specialty camera shops, filed for bankruptcy for the second time in three years after the founding family failed to turn around the 94-year-old retailer.

Ritz listed debt and assets of at least $50 million each in Chapter 11 court papers in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, today just after midnight. The company, with sales of $254 million in the 12 months before April 30, said it wasn’t making enough money to justify keeping open all its 265 stores.

The bankruptcy will “enable RCI to reject unprofitable leases, improve cash flow and to restructure its debts while preserving their valuable business operations,” Marc Weinsweig, chief restructuring officer, said in court papers.

In 2009, David Ritz and other members of the founding family bought the chain out of bankruptcy. The company tried to restructure, in part by refinancing debt and raising new capital, Weinsweig said.

Transom RCI Holdings LLC last year provided Ritz with $8 million in a deal that made the Ritz family a minority owner.

Ritz, based in Beltsville, Maryland, has about 1,960 employees.

The case is Ritz Camera & Image LLC, 12-11868, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

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