COUNTY OUTPLACEMENT ASSISTANCE CENTER BEGINS OPERATIONS; EMPLOYEES
RECEIVE INFORMATION, ASSISTANCE TO EASE TRANSITION
SANTA ANA, Calif., Jan. 6, 1995-- Orange County today began
operation of an Outplacement Assistance Center designed to assist employees
who are laid off as a result of the County's financial crisis. The Center,
which is located at the Old County Courthouse at 211 West Santa Ana Boulevard,
will serve as an information clearinghouse, resource and counseling center,
providing affected employees with a variety of tools to ease the transition.
Commenting on the Outplacement Assistance Center and job resource program,
Gaddi H. Vasquez, chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors said, "We
feel it is important to maximize the assistance and support the County
provides to those directly impacted by the financial crisis and resulting cost
According to Jan Walden, human resources client services manager and
outplacement coordinator, "Our goal is to provide support to our employees and
help make the transition as smooth as possible. We have assembled a team of
human resources experts and other professionals, employment representatives
and a variety of tools so that laid-off employees can begin at once to give
consideration to their future employment." Ms. Walden said that, beginning
today, representatives of the State Employment Development Department (EDD)
will be on-site and available to expedite the unemployment process so that
employees can begin to receive benefits as soon as practically possible.
Among the other resources available at the Center are:
-- Listings of local and regional job opportunities and referrals to
-- Assistance in initiating job searches, career planning and developing
skills to secure new employment (resume writing, interview skills, etc.);
-- Professional library staff and a variety of resource materials compiled
from the County's libraries; and
-- Computer software programs that assist in resume preparation and
Employees will also receive information on continuation of health insurance
coverage through COBRA and other benefit information.
In addition, the Center will have information on the various services and
financial assistance programs available through EDD, the Orange County Federal
Credit Union and the Employees Assistance Program (EAP).
Ms. Walden said that the County hopes to prepare a series of public service
announcements, for broadcast and employment ads -- space for which would be
donated by the County's two major newspapers -- to alert private and public
sector employers of the availability of trained, qualified County employees.
In addition, she noted that a number of private outplacement firms have
contacted the county about conducting employment counseling seminars for
laid-off employees. She said these are expected to begin as soon as next
"Orange County employees are some of the best employees in the State," Ms.
Walden said. "The qualities that have made them valuable County employees go
with them, and we believe that any employer will benefit from their expertise
Thus far, the County has laid off approximately 77 employees in its general
services administration and auditor-controller offices. Additional layoffs are
expected as a result of an announced program to cut $40.2 million in costs
from the County general fund. Cost savings will also occur as a result of
early retirement, attrition and a hiring freeze that has been in effect since
The Orange County Outplacement Assistance Center is open daily and
professionally staffed from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The telephone number is
/CONTACT: Sandra Sternberg or Michael Kolbenschlag of Sitrick Krantz & Co.,
714-834-4720 or 310-788-2850/
CONTACT: Rivian Bell
Sitrick Krantz & Company
NEW MANAGEMENT TO REORGANIZE LAMONTS UNDER CHAPTER 11;
COMPANY OBTAINS DIP FINANCING
CHAIN TO CLOSE SIX UNPROFITABLE STORES
Bellevue, WA -- January 6, 1995 -- The new senior management of Lamonts
Apparel, Inc., (Nasdaq:LMNT) announced today that it will revitalize its
merchandising and implement a permanent capital restructuring, which is intended
to strengthen the company's balance sheet and improve liquidity, through a
voluntary reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The
filing took place today in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of
Washington for Seattle. Lamonts, with 48 stores, has operated family apparel
stores in the Pacific Northwest for 28 years and is a well-recognized name in
Simultaneous with the filing, Lamonts announced that Foothill Capital
Corporation, its secured lender, has agreed to provide up to $32 million in
debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing based on available collateral. Upon Court
approval, the new DIP agreement will replace the company's current working
capital facility with Foothill.
"The Chapter 11 proceeding gives us the necessary time to streamline the
company and revitalize our business so that we can serve the best interests of
our constituents," stated Alan Schlesinger, chairman, president and chief
executive officer who joined Lamonts in November to lead the new senior
management team. "I am pleased to add that Lamonts' reorganization efforts are
being supported by a number of the company's creditors."
He went on to state that "daily operations at our stores will continue as
usual. We expect to be able to provide our customers as good or better a
selection of goods and services than ever. And we are especially excited about
our newest store in Issaquah, WA, which should open in March on schedule to
serve our Eastside Seattle area customers."
"There is a niche for Lamonts to fill for those seeking value-priced
fashions for the entire family. For our loyal customers, we plan to get back on
track and once again provide value every day to make Lamonts the region's most
desirable family apparel store."
Mr. Schlesinger said that Lamonts filed Chapter 11 after an extensive
review of the operational and financial issues facing the company, including its
current and future cash needs.
"We concluded that prompt and decisive action had to be taken so that we
could achieve our capital objectives once and for all", he said. "The
reorganization is designed to create a stronger balance sheet than this company
has seen in a long time. And the Chapter 11 proceeding gives us a unique
opportunity to reduce our expense structure, reject leases on unprofitable sites
and renegotiate better lease terms for certain stores. We need every store
operating at a four-wall profit, and we believe this goal is very achievable.
"This is not just a financing story, however. We must satisfy our
customers, obtain the best possible terms from our vendors, and provide friendly
service and great value that will encourage customers to keep shopping at our
Mr. Schlesinger said Lamonts would immediately ask the Court for permission
to close six unprofitable stores. The six stores slated for closing are located
in Vancouver, Everett, and Lakewood, WA; Medford, OR; Ogden, UT; and the
downtown clearance center in Spokane, WA.
"Once the Court grants permission, Lamonts will prepare the stores for
going-out-of-business sales, which should begin January 21," he said. "As far
as employees are concerned, we will ask the Court to allow us to provide full
benefits, including severance, without interruption."
Mr. Schlesinger went on to state that during the Chapter 11 proceeding,
"transactions which occur in the ordinary course of business should go on just
as before the filing. We expect paychecks to be issued at the same time as if
no proceeding had been filed."
He added that "our stores will be well stocked. Given the nearly 30-year
relationships we have in the industry, we believe that our key suppliers will
work with us during this period, as they have with other companies in similar
situations. We will be contacting each of our key suppliers immediately to do
what we can to ensure their support."
Mr. Schlesinger noted that, while federal law generally prohibits Lamonts
from paying for goods contracted before the filing, goods and services received
after the filing will be paid in the ordinary course of business.
"In fact," he emphasized, "such payments are given a priority status by the
Lamonts began streamlining its operations in 1993 with the closing of one
unprofitable store in Oregon. In September 1994, the company announced the
closing of three additional stores along with five pilot children's apparel
stores. In mid-November 1994, Mr. Schlesinger was asked to join the company to
head a new senior management team dedicated to revitalizing the company's
merchandising and customer service and to further streamlining its operations.
The company also reported today that its remaining outside directors resigned.
Founded in 1967, Lamonts Apparel, Inc., is headquartered in Bellevue, WA,
in the greater Seattle area. The company employees approximately 2,000
employees at its corporate headquarters and at 48 stores located in Alaska,
Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
# # #