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Tops Friendly Markets planning for bankruptcy

Tops Friendly Markets planning for bankruptcy

Bi-Lo is planning to shut nearly 200 stores - either before or after its filing - one person said.

The move would allow the company to seek court protection from its creditors.

Winn-Dixie has struggled in recent years, with the chain previously filing for bankruptcy in 2005 and 2009. Bi-Lo is reportedly more than $1 billion in debt after being bought out by Lone Star Funds in 2005.

Bi-Lo LLC is a subsidiary of Southeastern Grocer.

There was no immediate comment on the Bloomberg report by Tops. Bi-Lo acquired Winn-Dixie in 2012.

Tops Friendly Markets is now headquartered in Williamsville, New York and operates about 170 stores across New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

Bloomberg is citing inside sources familiar with the supermarket chain. They say the Williamsville-based supermarket's debt and intense industry competition may be behind the potential filing.

But same-store sales began to stall, and debt was used to help finance at least $375 million in dividends for its private-equity owners.

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