It’s official: Bakers Footwear Group is closing.
The firm on Wednesday received court approval to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, instead of Chapter 11.
Such approval means the St. Louis-based retailer will no longer try to reorganize its debt and try to re-emerge as a healthy organization, but instead will liquidate all remaining assets and distribute them to creditors as best it can. An appointed trustee is in charge of ensuring that any assets that are secured are sold and that the proceeds are paid to specific creditors.
Creditors at the hearing included Bakers’ lender, Salus Capital Partners, and various landlords including Macerich Co., Westfield Group and Taubman Centers, which all have Bakers foreclosing sales ongoing at some of its locations.
Brian Walsh of Brian Cave LLP, Bakers’ attorney, said priority for the funds goes to paying the salaries of employees that are still working at the firm and its 56 remaining stores.
Judge Charles Rendlen III expressed hope that the conversion to Chapter 7 will be completed by Friday, assuaging the landlords’ concerns that they have not been paid rent past this month.
“There’s one nice thing about this [case]: It’s not a moving target, it’s very clear,” said the judge.