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Monday, Sep 17, 2018
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Report: Winn-Dixie parent company could close 200 stores

Bi-Lo LLC, a subsidiary of the same Jacksonville company that owns Winn-Dixie, could file for bankruptcy as soon as next month, according to a Bloomberg report.

Parent company Southeastern Grocer is planning to shut down nearly 200 stores either before or after the possible filing, Bloomberg wrote, citing people with knowledge of the matter who declined to be named because the process is not public.

In an emailed statement to the Tampa Bay Times on Monday, the grocery retailer declined to address Bloomberg’s story.

Instead, a spokesman said, "Southeastern Grocers is undertaking an ongoing strategic review in advance of our unsecured bond maturity later this year."

He described the business operations as "strong."

A report from Moody’s Investor Service published in November said the company had to revamp or refinance its debt because of those debt maturities — which amount to nearly $1 billion.

Bloomberg also reported that month that the company was considering a debt-for-equity swap but hadn’t yet determined if it would use a bankruptcy filing to give bondholders ownership stake.

READ MORE: Interim Winn-Dixie CEO hopes to lead grocery chain into the future

In addition to Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo, the Jacksonville retail company owns Harverys and Fresco y Más grocery stores. In total, Southeastern Grocers says it has more than 700 stores and 50,000 employees across the country.

The bulk of those stores are Winn-Dixie locations, which has 182 stores in Central Florida from Tampa to Daytona.

With help from Lone Star Funds in 2012, Bi-Lo purchased Winn-Dixie. Southeastern Grocer was created as the parent company to oversee the subsidiaries.

In addition to having nearly $1 billion in debt, the retailer as also drawn about $284 million from a $900 million credit line.

That matures in November of this year if any of the senior secured notes are still outstanding.

Bloomberg’s report on Friday said the company may still try to find a way to restructure the debt without going to court.

Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale.

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