Winn-Dixie parent company to file for bankruptcy, close stores

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Southeastern Grocers - the Florida-based owner of Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie - said in a statement Thursday that it has made "the hard but necessary decision" to voluntarily file Chapter 11 bankruptcy to execute its restructuring.

In the Tampa Bay area, that means five local Winn-Dixie grocery stores and a Harveys will be closed, according to parent company Southeastern Grocers.

The Florida-based company issued a statement Thursday announcing plans to implement a "prepackaged restructuring agreement" including the decision to close 94 "underperforming stores".

The restructuring is expected to reduce the company's debt by more than $500 million. "We have not taken these steps without careful planning and consideration", said SEG in a statement. Officials reported in a news release they expect the company to emerge through financial restructuring within the 90 days.

"We conducted a thorough review of our strategic options and determined that this financial restructuring is in the best interests of our associates, customers, supplier partners and the communities in which we serve".

Southeastern Grocers, LLC is parent company of BI-LO, Winn-Dixie, Fresco y Mas, and Harveys Supermarket. It's previously gone through bankruptcy in 2005 and 2009.

Speculation about a bankruptcy filing has been ongoing for several months since Moody's and several news reports highlighted the company's debt issues.

The company is declining interview requests at this time, citing its focus on serving its customers and supporting its employees. As part of this transformational process, our three-year plan will create stunning, remodeled stores in a significant portion of our footprint.

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