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Pandemic Strikes a Negative Chord for Guitar Center

It just wasn’t able to hit the right chord with consumers during the pandemic. 

Guitar Center has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the latest chain retailer to succumb to the coronavirus pandemic and significant drop-off in consumer demand for non-essential goods and services.

The retailer announced it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection “to significantly reduce our debt and enhance our ability to reinvest in our business.” Guitar Center aims to emerge from bankruptcy before the end of the year, the company said.

In its filing, Guitar Center said its lenders already have agreed to cut the company’s debt by nearly $800 million, and that it has also secured up to $165 million in new equity investment.

Like other retailers, the 61-year-old company was forced to close many of its stores in March during nationwide lockdowns, struggling to get customers to buy instruments even after lockdowns ended. Guitar Center has 269 locations, many in shopping malls.

Shopping malls themselves have struggled through the pandemic as retailers have been forced to close their brick-and-mortar operations, sparking an economic chain reaction that has hit mall owners’ bottom lines.

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