Photographer: Jim R. Bounds/Bloomberg

HHGregg Said to Hire Advisers to Help Cope With Retail Woes

  • Stifel, Miller Buckfire, Morgan Lewis advise on plans
  • HHGregg’s crucial holiday sales disappoint, adding to woes

HHGregg Inc. is turning to investment banks including Miller Buckfire & Co. for help as the electronics and furniture retailer battles weak sales, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The retailer also retained Miller Buckfire’s parent Stifel Financial Corp. to explore a range of strategic transactions, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the hires weren’t public. Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP is hired as legal adviser, the people said.

Miller Buckfire will advise the company on plans including how to deal with its debt and a possible turnaround, the people said. The retailer posted disappointing numbers for the crucial holiday season in the quarter ended Dec. 31, with sales plunging 24 percent to about $453 million from the year earlier. 

HHGregg shares dropped as much as 7 percent Wednesday to trade at 43 cents a share, after losing more than 60 percent in value last year.

Online Competition

Representatives for Stifel and Miller Buckfire declined to comment on the joint retention. Representatives at HHGregg and Morgan Lewis didn’t immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

The chain has struggled against online competition, as well as traditional retail outlets such as J.C. Penney Co., which added appliances last year. HHGregg, based in Indianapolis, has posted two years of losses.

HHGregg earlier this month received notice from the New York Stock Exchange for failing to meet the minimum listing price requirement. The company was warned that it could be delisted.

The company’s Gregg Appliances unit has a $280 million credit line, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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