Add Fresno-based retailer Gottschalks Inc. to the growing list of retailers that have had to file for bankruptcy protection.
The regional department store chain said Wednesday that it was seeking protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and would put itself up for sale. The company said business at its stores would continue as usual during the reorganization.
Gottschalks, which sells apparel, accessories and home merchandise, operates 58 department stores and three specialty apparel stores in six states: California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada and Idaho.
Its Southern California locations include stores in Palmdale, San Bernardino and Riverside.
Gottschalks joins a rapidly growing list of retailers that have had to seek bankruptcy protection, such as Mervyn's, Linens 'N Things Inc. and Circuit City Stores Inc.
On Tuesday, Knoxville, Tenn.-based clothing chain Goody's, which operates about 300 stores in 20 states, also filed for Chapter 11 protection and said it planned to liquidate.
Jim Famalette, chief executive of Gottschalks, said in a statement that the filing "was a very difficult but necessary decision."
"While we have aggressively pursued a number of important steps over the past year to improve our performance and reduce costs," he said, "the persistent challenges in the economy and recent unexpected reductions to our borrowing capacity as a result of tightening credit markets have left us with no other recourse."