A victim of intense competition and a cautious consumer spending landscape, mid-sized department-store chain Hart Stores Inc. got protection from its creditors on Tuesday.
Hart said it got an initial order from Quebec Superior Court under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act to continue operating until at least Sept. 29 while it draws up a restructuring plan. It got a $20-million loan from Wells Fargo Capital Finance Corporation Canada to help it keep going.
The court appointed RSM Richter Inc. as monitor to oversee the restructuring. In the meantime, all Hart's 92 stores, under the banners Hart, Bargain Giant and Geant des Aubaines, will keep operating, the company said.
Hart sells clothing, electronics, home goods, appliances and other products in stores in eastern Canada. In late 2010, another Quebec-based chain, Boutique Jacob Inc, also started operating under creditors' protection, squeezed by new competition and some missteps of its own.