Home improvement chain with 442 stores sparks fears of closures

By Daniel Jones, Consumer Editor For Dailymail.Com

01:43 09 Jul 2024, updated 01:43 09 Jul 2024

One of America’s biggest flooring suppliers is considering bankruptcy – the latest retailer to face financial problems.

LL Flooring, with 442 stores across 47 states, has seen its sales falling over the past year as Americans cut back on renovating their homes.

Tom Sullivan founded Lumber Liquidators in 1994 by buying excess wood from companies and reselling it at a discount.

The company at first did business out the back of a pick up truck in Stoughton, Massachusetts.  

Shortly after, Sullivan began negotiating directly with mills as he sought to cut out the wholesalers who acted as middleman – and have lower prices to undercut rivals.

LL Flooring, with 442 stores across 47 states,is considering Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to Bloomberg

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Celebrating two decades in business in 2014, Sullivan said at the time: ‘To look back and see how far we’ve come in 20 years is almost like a dream.

‘We’ve gone from a tiny operation to having served more than two million people and, along the way, changed the way hardwood flooring is sold. 

‘Our customers know that the value and quality of their floors are unmatched.’

Sullivan left the company in 2017 and since then has fallen out with the board. He has tried to take over the company but has so far been rebuffed.

Lumber Liquidators was renamed LL Flooring in 2020.  

News that LL Flooring was considering Chapter 11 bankruptcy was reported by Bloomberg on July 3. 

A person with knowledge of the matter told the publication that LL Flooring may file within the ‘coming weeks’. Such a move would protect it from creditors while it reorganizes the business. 

Shares fell as much as 31 percent after the report was published. 

According to Bloomberg, company adviser Houlihan Lokey has been contacting potential investors about a deal to inject fresh capital into LL Flooring. 

LL Flooring is the US’s largest specialist flooring company

The company is also attempting to sell a distribution center in Virginia to strengthen its cash reserves.

LL Flooring is not alone in having financial problems in 2024. Many smaller chains, already reeling from the pandemic, have faced higher costs of business, particularly labor. 

There have been almost 2,600 store closures so far in 2024In recent weeks, Walmart has closed three more of its underperforming locations, while Rite Aid is shutting another 27 pharmacies

Dollar stores have been hit hard too, with 99 Cents Only announcing in April it would shutter all 371 of its locations across California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada. 

Similarly, 1,000 Family Dollars and Dollar Trees will permanently shut over the next few years.

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