Fairway market files for bankruptcy protection, all stores to be sold

WOODLAND PARK, NJ, UNITED STATES - 2018/08/05: Fairway Market store in Woodland Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A day after refuting reports that it was filing for bankruptcy, Fairway market announced Thursday it had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and would sell all of its 14 stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Five of the grocery chain's New York City stores and its distribution center would be sold to Village Super Market, owner of Shop Rite, for about $70 million with the remaining stores to be sold during a court-supervised sale process.

"We would like to extend gratitude to our employees, vendors, distributors and customers for their support, dedication and loyalty over the years. It has always been Fairway's priority to ensure our patrons are provided with the most optimal grocery experience, with the freshest foods and best quality products, and our employees feel appreciated."

— Abel Porter, CEO, Fairway Market

All the stores would remain open during the bankruptcy protection filing, which could be up to six months.

"We would like to extend gratitude to our employees, vendors, distributors and customers for their support, dedication and loyalty over the years. It has always been Fairway's priority to ensure our patrons are provided with the most optimal grocery experience, with the freshest foods and best quality products, and our employees feel appreciated," Fairway CEO Abel Porter said in a statement. "After careful consideration of all alternatives, we have concluded that a Court-supervised sale process is the best way to meet our objectives of preserving as many jobs as possible, maximizing value for our stakeholders, and positioning Fairway for long term success under new ownership."

On Wednesday, Fairway, which had filed for chapter 11 in 2016, fired back at a report in the New York Post that it was filing for chapter 7 and that it was not planning to sell its stores. But later in the day, the 87-year-old grocer had in fact filed for bankruptcy protection, reported the Post.

The chain had been looking to sell and liquidate its stores since last year, but prospective buyers were reportedly scared off by the $174 million debt and expensive leases, including $6 million in rent on its flagship store on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

"We appreciate that Fairway's loyal customers are concerned about the future, and if we are successful in our bid, we are committed to keeping Fairway, including its name, unique product selection and value, a part of this community."

— Robert Sumas, CEO, Village Super Market Inc.

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