MADISON, Wis. (AP) -

Scores of bargain hunters have descended on American TV & Appliance stores looking for a closeout deal.

They lined up outside stores in Madison, Brown Deer and elsewhere Thursday as the 60-year-old retailer began liquidating its merchandise as it prepares to close for good. Nearly 1,000 employees in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa will lose their jobs when doors close sometime late in April.

Customer vehicles filled the parking lot well before the Madison store opened Thursday. The Madison-based company is closing its 11 stores, a warehouse and distribution center.

American CEO Douglas Reuhl has blamed an "unforgiving economy" for the chain's deepening financial troubles over the last five years.