Shoppers Value Foods Files for Chapter 11
The parent company of the Shoppers Value Foods chain has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reorganization.
JHJ Inc. plans to "reorganize and continue operations," said William Steffes, attorney at The Steffes Firm LLC, in Baton Rouge, La., according to the Advocate newspaper in that city.
Initial court filings were made in mid-November, with additional stores in the chain joining the bankruptcy proceeding this week, citing debt tied to the purchase and rebranding of six former Winn-Dixie locations in 2018, five of which have since closed, the newspaper reported.
JHJ owns and operates 12 grocery stores — more than half of which are in Baton Rouge, — and one Food Depot, in Bogalusa, La. The company employs more than 600 workers across the Baton Rouge metro area, Lafayette, Bogalusa and Jefferson, records show.
According to the Advocate, the grocery chain owes more than $7 million to its wholesale distributor and supplier, Supervalu, for promissory notes underwritten between May 2016 and November 2018, according to bankruptcy documents. The Minneapolis-based food distributor was acquired by a competitor, Providence, R.I.-based United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) in a $2.9 billion deal completed in October 2018.
"The vast majority of the indebtedness was incurred for the purpose of purchasing inventory for multiple grocery stores formerly operating under the name Winn-Dixie," the bankruptcy filing noted, adding that the company defaulted on its loan from Supervalu several months ago and attempted to negotiate the loan outside of court.
Serving natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, ecommerce retailers and foodservice customers, UNFI is the largest publicly traded grocery distributor in the United States, and is No. 30 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.