The Grand Union Co. (Wayne, N.J.), which has been in and out of bankruptcy twice in the last six years, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the third time. The troubled operator of 197 supermarkets in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont reported $51.7 million in losses for the quarter ending July 22, 2000. The company said it expects to close "a small number" of unprofitable stores, but was not specific about how many or where. An analyst predicted about 20 percent of the stores would have to be closed.
In March 2000, Grand Union had hired Merrill Lynch to help arrange a sale. Jeffrey Freimark, Grand Union's cfo, said the bankruptcy filing does not change the sale process or Merrill Lynch's role. It will conduct business as usual and pay suppliers and employees while it continues to search for a buyer.
The retailer filed for bankruptcy in 1995 and again in 1998. It has continued to lose money since emerging from its second bankruptcy protection in August 1988. Aggressive expansion and consolidations and buy-outs have strengthened national chains at the expense of many regional operators. And the success of hypermarketers Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target and Meijer's has changed the face of grocery buying in the country.