Retailers

Tops Restructuring Picks Up Steam; Court Approves Settlement With UFCW

Retailer will close 10 underperforming stores by November
tops friendly market exterior
Photograph courtesy of Tops Markets

Tops Markets LLC said it’s making solid progress on its financial restructuring, including a green light from the court regarding a final agreement with United Food and Commercial Workers alongside plans to close 10 underperforming stores by the end of November.

Tops has been operating under federal Chapter 11 protection since February, seeking to restructure debts and long-standing concerns over underfunded union pensions for its warehouse and store-based employees. In May, it came to a joint settlement with the Teamsters unions and supplier C&S Wholesale Grocers to settle a separate warehouse worker pension dispute.

The Williamsville, N.Y.-based regional retailer said the moves will enable it to focus on strengthening its financial position to invest further in its core stores, enhance its competitive stance and improve the store experience.

“We are making significant progress in our financial restructuring process and our operating results have remained strong,” Tops CEO Frank Curci said in a statement. “Receiving court approval of the global settlement with the UFCW is a major milestone in our court supervised restructuring process, as it helps pave the way for our reorganization and ultimate emergence from this process.”

Having recently completed a review of its store portfolio, the vast majority of which are profitable, and “seeing strong customer support,” Curci said, “there are a few stores that are not performing to our standards due to a number of factors, including location, store size, lack of visibility and lease costs. We are using the tools available to us through the court-supervised process to conduct an orderly wind down of these stores. We are pleased to continue serving our communities with existing locations that are all in close proximity to the affected stores.”

Acknowledging the “the important role that our associates play in driving our success and serving our customers and our communities,” Curci pledged that the company will “treat affected associates fairly and with the respect that they deserve. Importantly, we have many openings across our chain of stores and to the extent possible, we will work with impacted associates to find them placement at nearby store locations.”

Of the company’s 14,000 associates, the store closures will affect 600 people. Of its 169 locations, Tops will close the following 10 stores:

2120 W. Genesee St., Syracuse, N.Y.
4141 S. Salina St., Syracuse, N.Y.
710 Lake Ave., Rochester, N.Y.
175 N. Winton Road, Rochester, N.Y.
6720 Pittsford/Palmyra Road, Fairport, N.Y.
33 Forgham St., Lyons, N.Y.
381 Hamilton St., Geneva, N.Y.
909 West 1st St. S., Fulton, N.Y.
299 S. Main St., Elmira, N.Y.
622 Lake Flower Ave., Saranac Lake, N.Y.

In addition, Tops said it will file a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking authority to assume the leases of continuing stores and reject leases and conduct store closings at the 10 affected locations. Aside from the 10 stores slated to close, all other stores are expected to remain open and are either on the list to be assumed or in the final stages of documentation.

Additional information is available on Tops’ restructuring website at www.topsrestructuring.com.

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