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A&P grocery files for bankruptcy after 110 years

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. — operator of almost 400 supermarkets under names including Waldbaum’s, Food Emporium and Pathmark — filed for bankruptcy after failing to compete with wholesale clubs and drugstores.

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. — operator of almost 400 supermarkets under names including Waldbaum’s, Food Emporium and Pathmark — filed for bankruptcy after failing to compete with wholesale clubs and drugstores.

The New Jersey-based retailer, incorporated 110 years ago, also runs stores under its own name, Super Fresh and Food Basics. It listed assets of $2.5 billion and debt of $3.2 billion yesterday in a Chapter 11 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, New York.

A shift in consumer spending to wholesale clubs, drugstores and supercenters hurt sales in the quarter ended Sept. 11, A&P said in a regulatory filing. The retailer had $8.8 billion in sales for the year ended in February, according to its website.

“We have taken this difficult, but necessary, step to enable A&P to fully implement our comprehensive financial and operational restructuring,” Chief Executive Officer Sam Martin said in a statement. “We could not complete our turnaround without availing ourselves of Chapter 11.”

The company announced a turnaround plan in July that included closing 25 stores in five states. It said in September it would sell another seven stores in Northern Connecticut. Restoring competitive margins, remodeling stores and increasing cash flows were all goals, the company has said.

 
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