Hastings Entertainment, one of the largest comic book retailers in the United States, is in trouble. On Friday, June 10th 2016 Hastings issued a letter to its employees and another letter to customers today, June 13th – both of which can be found here in this article. In the letter to customers, Mr Litwak describes that current state of the company as well as notifying customers that they have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing is intended to help restructure the company as well as bring in addition financial support via a buyer or investor. Hastings has previously gone through buyout proceedings; in 2014 they went through a $21.4 million buyout as well as effort to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Draw Another Circle (of which they are now a part).
In the letter to associates, Litwak tells employees that should an investor not be found within the allotted time frame, that they may begin downsizing and closing locations. Employees of Hastings have all received letters mandated by the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) Act letting them know that their position may be eliminated within sixty days. Certain program such as video game rentals and their buyback program have already been suspended.
Hastings Entertainment is one of the largest accounts for Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. so if the store closes, the Diamond account will as well and will surely impact the Direct Comic Book Market. Exactly how and to what extent remains to be seen but many markets rely upon Hastings as their only venue for comic books.
While Hastings has video games, movies, books and other merchandise, it remains a popular destination and store for comic book collectors. Hastings has an entire program dedicated to Hastings Exclusive variant covers from books across a plethora of publishers. Issue One for Volume Three of Batman, to be released this week, has a Hastings Exclusive cover. Many covers feature special artists and characters, Deadpool being a frequent character to appear on various variants on various titles.
Today Jim Litwak posted this on their store website:
“June 13, 2016
To Our Valued Customers,
At Hastings, our mission is to bring you the array of entertainment products, collectibles and basics that have made us a fixture in our local communities while also creating experiences that delight you and grow with you over the years. We have been working diligently to transform our stores with these objectives in mind and already have completed 20 refreshed stores with overwhelmingly positive reviews.
We believe we are on the right path, but we need additional financial support to fully execute our plan for the future. That is why we have initiated a comprehensive process to evaluate potential buyers for our business and, as part of that sale process, have filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code along with our corporate parent (Draw Another Circle) and sister brands (Movie Stop and SPImages). The Chapter 11 process will help to prepare our business for the intended sale while also providing additional protections and financing to allow us to serve you as usual.
Please be assured that Hastings stores and e-commerce business remain open and continue to bring you the superior selection of multimedia and entertainment products you have come to expect from us. In addition, our Passport program is continuing with all your accumulated benefits intact, and we continue to launch exciting new promotions on an ongoing basis.
At this time, we will be changing a few other programs, as outlined below:
* Hastings will no longer accept nor honor customer deposits for future movie purchases. Instead, existing deposits may be applied towards additional purchases in the store.
* Game rentals will no longer be available.
* Gift cards will expire on July 13, 30 days from today’s announcement.
* Hastings’ buyback program has been suspended.
We apologize for any inconvenience this news may cause. We have addressed more Frequently Asked Questions below and will continue to keep you updated as we work to identify a buyer. Whether its toys for the kids, on-trend merchandise for teens, electronics, comics, supplies for adults’ favorite hobbies or the opportunity to sip coffee while reading a new book, Hastings seeks to be a place where our communities come together and where everyone belongs.
We sincerely appreciate your business and hope to have the opportunity to serve you for many years to come.
President & COO
Hastings Entertainment Inc.