Belle Foods Closing 13 Stores
In the wake of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Belle Foods LLC will close 13 stores by Aug. 3, including six in Alabama as part of the reorganization of its business. In communications with Progressive Grocer, Jerry Rice, Belle’s director, training and employee relations, confirmed the impending closures.
The Birmingham, Ala.-based grocer, which operates 57 stores with more than 2,850 employees, plans to shutter six locations in Alabama, six in Florida and one in Georgia, the Birmingham Business Journal reported. Of the 13 affected stores, 12 operate under the Food World banner and one is a Piggly Wiggly.
Belle said in a statement that it “will continue to operate in the ordinary course of business as ‘debtor-in-possession’ under the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court.”
The company continued that it had “received court approval to use cash collateral, pay employee wages and benefits, and continue customer programs. The company believes that it has sufficient liquidity to operate its stores during its Chapter 11, and to continue the flow of goods and services to its customers in the ordinary course.”
Although characterizing the bankruptcy as “a difficult time in the life of the company,” Belle said that the move “represents the best opportunity to reorganize its long-term debt, dispose of underperforming assets and achieve lasting success,” adding that it hoped to emerge “as a leaner, stronger company in the very near future.”
Belle filed for bankruptcy after incurring debts of more than $42 million.