Central Grocers files bankruptcy protection


Central Grocers and its subsidiaries have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

The retailer plans to use this process for the sale of its Strack & Van Til stores as going concerns, and expects entering a sale agreement with a bidder in the near future.

Central Grocers is also looking to divest its distribution centre in Joliet as it closes down its wholesale distribution operations.

The firm stated that it has been cooperating with its lenders and expects to have access to enough liquidity to continue operating its outlets and closing down the distribution facility in an orderly manner.

“As we move through this process, our priorities, values and commitments to our customers and our communities will not change."

All 22 Strack & Van Til, Town & Country Market and Ultra Foods stores in Indiana and Illinois remain open and will continue to serve customers.

Strack & Van Til president and CEO Jeff Strack said: "Our stores are open, and we are as focused as ever on supporting our customers and providing the legendary service that we are known for.

“As we move through this process, our priorities, values and commitments to our customers and our communities will not change. We thank our loyal customers for their continued support, and we thank our employees for their hard work and dedication."

Central Grocers is working towards executing a sale of the Strack & Van Til stores, its distribution facility in Joliet, and some other assets.

The auction process will be conducted under Section 363 of the US Bankruptcy Code.

Central Grocers president and CEO Ken Nemeth said: "In light of the increasingly difficult environment for independent supermarkets and retailers, we have been working tirelessly to achieve an outcome that is in the best interests of our stakeholders.

“We are using this court-supervised sale process to provide us the time and flexibility to conduct an orderly sale of the Strack & Van Til stores, while we work to sell the warehouse in Joliet and wind down our wholesale distribution operations."

The firm has filed several customary motions seeking court authorisation to support its operations during the auction process, including payment of employee wages and benefits.

It also plans to soon file a motion in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois to dismiss the involuntary bankruptcy case commenced against Central Grocers given its voluntary Chapter 11 filing.