The Hillsborough Pathmark is one of 32 A&P-owned grocery stores slated for closure by the end of April, according to court documents filed yesterday.
A&P, known formally as the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc., filed chapter 11 documents Tuesday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Southern District of New York. The company is seeking permission to close the 32 stores, spread out over six states, as part of its restructuring. A&P first filed for bankruptcy under chapter 11 on Dec. 12, 2010.
"As part of our turnaround and our ongoing review of our store footprint, we have decided to close these 32 locations,” A&P President and Chief Executive Officer Sam Martin said in a press release. “While this was a very difficult decision that will unfortunately impact some of our customers, partners, communities and employees, these actions are absolutely necessary as we work to strengthen A&P's operating foundation and improve our performance. We will help our affected colleagues pursue other positions across the company should open positions be available."
Other nearby stores scheduled for closure include Pathmarks in Bethlehem, Pa. and Super Fresh stores in East Windsor, Hamilton and Yardley, Pa.
The 32 stores were picked because an analysis by A&P deemed them “underperforming,” the court papers said. Under the plan, they would close by April 15 and the premises would be surrendered to landlords by April 30. A&P also said in the filings that it hopes to sell or reject unexpired leases on the physical locations of the stores it plans to close.
The Unified Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union represents a number of the workers affected.
The UFCW Local 464A represents 15 A&P stores, including the Hillsborough Pathmark. In a statements posted on the chapter website, the union said A&P executives had deemed the locations now set to be closed “under-performing.”
“Although we are deeply disappointed, we cannot permit this setback to result in despair. The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. operates hundreds of valuable locations, with many demonstrating sound performance. A strong Turnaround Plan could well allow the Company to become profitable. Even if the Company is unsuccessful, these locations are too valuable not to be acquired by another Union Employer,” Local 464A President John Niccollai said in the statement.
He went on to estimate that about 360 workers would be laid off in the 15 stores that chapter represents. Those who lose their jobs, he said in the statement, “must not view this situation as a personal failure. The simple truth is that this Company, with its long history of incompetence and mismanagement, has made us victims. Unfortunately, not even the most competent employee or astute Union can prevail when a Company is poorly managed.”
Employees will be reallocated among stores based on seniority, the release said.