New York State grocer cites Amazon as one of reasons for struggling performance.
The U.S. supermarket chain Tops Markets LLC filed for bankruptcy on March 21, saying an unsustainable debt load, falling food prices and stiff competition from Amazon.com Inc. and other low-cost rivals forced it to reorganize, according to Reuters.
Tops said it expects the 169 stores it operates in upstate New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont to remain open while it restructures under Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code in White Plains, N.Y.
The Williamsville, New York-based company said it had $977 million of assets and $1.18 billion of liabilities as of Dec. 30, 2017, and employs more than 14,200 people.
Some supermarket chains are struggling with falling sales and profit margins as big-box retailers, membership clubs and warehouses, and online retailers such as Amazon expand their food operations and undercut them on price.
Southeastern Grocers, parent company of Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Fresco y Más, and Harveys supermarkets, recently announced plans to close nearly 100 underperforming stores and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy by the end of March.
Management acquired Tops in 2013 from Morgan Stanley’s private equity arm, which had bought the company six years earlier from the Dutch retailer now known as Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV.
In a court filing, Tops said “transactions undertaken by prior ownership” left it with unsustainable leverage.
It also said a heavily unionized workforce, changing customer tastes, rivals’ pricing power and “intense competition from online retail giants such as Amazon” made it increasingly difficult to compete.