- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

WILMINGTON, DEL. (AP) - A Delaware bankruptcy judge has agreed to the liquidation of Fresno, Calif.-based Gottschalks, which operates 55 department stores and three specialty apparel stores in six states.

Judge Kevin Carey was to sign the liquidation order Wednesday afternoon, and going-out-of-business sales could start as early as Thursday.

A Gottschalks attorney said two groups bid for 12 hours on Tuesday for the right to conduct the liquidation. The winner guaranteed a 98 percent return on the cost of inventory, valued at about $106 million, and more than $3 million for fixtures and equipment.

Under the sale order, Estee Lauder cosmetics will be included in store closing sales for six weeks. After that, Estee Lauder will be allowed to buy back inventory at 74 percent of retail cost.

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