Published: Mon, February 19, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Bi-Lo LLC, Tops Could Declare Bankruptcy

Bi-Lo LLC, Tops Could Declare Bankruptcy

That's according to sources with knowledge on the matter.

According to a report by Bloomberg, New York-based grocery chain Tops Friendly Markets is ready to file for bankruptcy.

This isn't the first time the business has gone bankrupt, similar issues arose in 2005 and 2009. "As reported earlier the Company has hired Evercore (a global independent private investment firm) to help them restructure their enormous debt". "But now the industry is contending with a more aggressive push by big-box retailers and Inc., which acquired Whole Foods previous year to give it a larger brick-and-mortar presence", the Bloomberg report reads. So far, Tops has neither confirmed nor denied reports about the possible bankruptcy filing. A 2017 report from Reuters said the supermarket chain had a $723 million debt load.

Bi-Lo purchased Winn Dixie in 2012 and operates locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. According to the Tops website, it operates almost 170 stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont with 15,000 employees. And the industry's intense competition made it hard to offset the burden by raising prices. Management bought out Morgan Stanley in 2013 through another leveraged transaction.

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