Report: California's Gottschalks in talks with three potential buyers

Gottschalks is reportedly in talks with a trio of potential buyers to continue to operate the retail department store chain, a financial news service reported Thursday evening.

Citing unnamed sources, reported that the Fresno-based company is negotiating with El Corte Ingles, a Spanish retail giant that already owns a 16% stake in Gottschalks, Golden Gate Capital Corp, a California private-equity firm, and GK Development Inc., a development company in Illinois. According to the Bloomberg report, the three companies would continue operating some of the chain’s locations.

Gottschalks, which operates 58 department stores in six western states, filed for bankruptcy in mid-January and is due to be sold at auction on March 30. The company announced this month the selection of a consortium of liquidation companies as a lead bid to conduct going-out-of-business sales if no alternate bidders surface by March 25.

James Famalette, Gottschalks’ chairman and chief executive, said Thursday night that he was unable to comment on the Bloomberg report. "Anyone that we’re talking with has to remain confidential right now," he said.

In an e-mail earlier Thursday, Famalette said only that the company is"“still in serious discussions with more than one group about a going-concern bid."

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