FAILURES: Grant Goes Under

By catering to budget-minded customers, W.T. Grant Co. built itself into one of the nation's biggest general merchandise retailers. But last week, Grant, which operates 1,069 stores, became the second biggest U.S. company ever to enter bankruptcy proceedings (the biggest was Penn Central Transportation Co. in 1970). The beginning of the end came when Chairman James G. Kendrick, who has been fighting for more than a year to keep the firm afloat, disclosed that the company now had a "negative net worth." In other words, its debts exceed its $1 billion assets. Then the company filed a petition under...

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