MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of several brands including Winn-Dixie grocery stores, confirmed Thursday afternoon it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The company says it will close 94 "underperforming stores" in the coming days. In addition to Winn-Dixie, Southeastern Grocers owns BiLo, Harvey's Supermarkets, and Fresco y Más stores.
A company spokesperson said the decision was made after "a thorough review of options for reducing our current debt" and added that it was "critical to our future and the long-term health of our business."
The company is declining interview requests at this time, citing its focus on serving its customers and supporting its employees.
Bankruptcy news was not unexpected for Jacksonville, Florida-based Southeastern Grocers. Bloomberg reported in mid-February that the company was preparing for such a move with as many as 200 stores in the crosshairs for closure. It's previously gone through bankruptcy in 2005 and 2009.
Here's a list of store closures from the company:
Southeastern Grocers says it has a three-year plan that will "create stunning, remodeled stores in a significant portion of our footprint" and will provide "our customers with fresh, new concepts and products to cater to the local tastes and needs of the neighborhoods we serve."
One of the nation's largest grocers, Southeastern Grocers has stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.