4 Maryland Red Lobster locations among dozens abruptly closed

Red Lobster has abruptly closed dozens of locations, including several in Maryland, and hired an auction firm to liquidate their assets.

It is Red Lobster’s latest move to stave off a bankruptcy filing. The seafood chain put itself up for sale last month. Red Lobster is struggling with mounting debt, and business stumbles, including losing $11 million on its $20 “all you can eat shrimp” promotion last summer.

Maryland locations that have closed are in Gaithersburg, Columbia, Silver Spring and Laurel. Closings in Virginia are not in the D.C. area, but include Red Lobster locations in Colonial Heights, Williamsburg and Newport News.

TAGeX Brands, which specializes in restaurant industry auctions and liquidations, is handling the Red Lobster auctions. It lists 48 locations in 11 states, and said the auctions are “winner takes all,” meaning each winning bidder receives the entire contents of the Red Lobster location they bid on, including furnishings, kitchen equipment and fixtures.

In a video the company posted online, it is marketing the auction as an opportunity for restaurants to upgrade their operations or open a new restaurant for a fraction of the cost.

The online auction is live.

Last month, Bloomberg reported Red Lobster had hired advisors to solicit potential buyers, and was considering a bankruptcy filing, because of high costs, including leases and labor.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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