August 17, 2000
Heilig-Meyers, the nation's largest furniture retailer, has filed for bankruptcy protection after failing to make debt payments and failing to find a buyer. The company said it would immediately close about 300 of its 870 stores and eliminate 4,400 jobs.

The company specialized in extending credit to lower-income purchasers and was experiencing a growing default rate in recent years. Many analysts blamed the problem on credit cards and home-equity lenders who have been targeting lower-income consumers as well, leading many to take on more debt than they can handle.

The company is seeking to reorganize under Chapter 11. It said it has arranged for another company to take over its credit operations and expected that this would improve liquidity and collections. The new company was not identified.

Heilig-Meyers also operates 57 RoomStores and three Homemaker stores. They are not expected to be affected by the bankruptcy filing.