Gottschalks Timeline

April 6, 2009 

1904: German immigrant Emil Gottschalk opens his 10,000-squarefoot dry-goods store in downtown Fresno.

1914: Gottschalks moves into a 100,000-square-foot building at Kern and J streets in Fresno.

1960s: Gottschalks expands with a branch in Merced and new stores in Visalia and Fresno.

1970s: New stores open in Modesto, Santa Maria and Fresno.

1980s: New stores open throughout Northern and Central California. Gottschalks goes public on the New York Stock Exchange. Annual sales surpass $200 million in 1989.

1990s: More new stores open in California, including the southern part of the state. The company expands outside California, opening stores in Nevada, Oregon and Washington. In 1998, Gottschalks buys the nine-store Harris chain in Southern California. Annual sales exceed $500 million.

2000: The 34-store Lamonts chain in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Utah is purchased. New stores open in Redding and Oregon.

2002: Gottschalks posts a net loss of $12 million. Some stores are closed, the credit card business is sold and new products introduced. In 2003, profits rebound to $1.9 million.

2005: A new 100,000-square-foot store opens in Fresno‘s River Park, a model for future expansion plans.

2006: Gottschalks, now at 66 stores, says it’s looking at a poss ible sale or alternatives such as partnerships, going private or revising its business plan.

2007: The company ends its 13-month search for a buyer and says it will accelerate growth plans.

2008: Gottschalks posts an annual loss of $12.4 million for 2007. It cancels plans to open two stores in California and lays off about two dozen employees at its Fresno corporate offce. One store in Palmdale is sold.

October 2008: Gottschalks is removed from the New York Stock Exchange because of its low market value. The stock price falls below $1 per share for the first time since it went public. A new, small-scale store opens in Bend, Ore.

Dec. 15, 2008: Everbright Development Overseas Ltd., a Chinese investor that promised to infuse Gottschalks with up to $30 million for majority ownership, pulls out of deal.

Jan. 14, 2009: Gottschalks, with 58 department stores and three specialty stores in six states, files for bankruptcy protection in Delaware.

March 25, 2009: Three bidders emerge to compete for Gottschalks’ assets: Two groups of liquidators to sell the company’s inventory in clearance sales, and a Chinese conglome rate with hopes of keeping Gottschalks in business.

March 30, 2009: One group of liquidators wins the bidding for Gottschalks’ merchandise. A bankruptcy judge approves the winning bid April 1.

April 2, 2009: Liquidation sales begin at all of Gottschalks’ stores in six western states, with the sales to be completed and the stores vacated by July 15. Gottschalks’ store leases and owned sites will be sold separately in May and July.

Sources: Gottschalks, Bee file photos

THE FRESNO BEE

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