Supermarket chain files for bankruptcy protection

A heavy debt loan and increased competition from the likes of Walmart, Amazon and others have taken a toll on Tops Friendly Market.

The regional grocery store operator on Wednesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Tops, which operates some 169 supermarkets in Upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and Western Vermont, said all stores remain open.

Tops has received a commitment for a $125 million debtor-in-possession term loan financing facility from certain noteholders and a $140 million DIP asset based revolving loan from Bank of America, N.A., which are expected to support the company’s continued operations during the court-supervised restructuring process.

“We believe the financing that we received from our noteholders is a vote of confidence in our business,” said Tops CEO Frank Curci. “Our operations are strong and we have an outstanding network of stores and a talented team to support them. We are now undertaking a financial restructuring, through which we expect to substantially reduce our debt and achieve long-term financial flexibility. This will enable us to invest further in our stores, create an even more exceptional shopping experience for our customers and compete more effectively in today’s highly competitive and evolving market.”