Home Business GNC files for bankruptcy, shuttering stores as it looks for a buyer

GNC files for bankruptcy, shuttering stores as it looks for a buyer

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GNC filed for bankruptcy, saying it will shutter more than 15 percent of its stores after state-ordered coronavirus lockdowns crimped sales this spring.

The 85 year-old supplements seller — which struggled with sagging sales in recent years, even as it shouldered more than $700 million in debt — said in a Chapter 11 late Tuesday that coronavirus lockdowns have recently had a “dramatic negative impact” on its business, noting that it failed to qualify as an essential retailer in a number of states.

The Pittsburgh, Pa.-based retailer said it hopes to sell itself for at least $760 million in an auction. In the meantime, the company, which operates 7,300 stores worldwide, including 1,600 Rite Aid stores, will slim down. Up to 1,200 underperforming stores will be shuttered during bankruptcy, the company said.

GNC reached an agreement with its largest supplier and its lenders, which provided $130 million in bankruptcy financing. The company reported a $200 million loss in the first quarter compared to a $15 million loss a year ago.

GNC was founded in 1935 by David Shakarian as a health food store selling yogurt and other foods. Over the years it evolved into a global seller of vitamins and energy supplements.

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