Future of Winn-Dixie uncertain as company eyes filing bankruptcy

Published 10:49 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

Popular southeastern grocery store chain Winn-Dixie will see almost 200 stores close their doors after recent financial struggles have plagued the chain and the grocery industry.

According to Bloomberg Markets, the financial hard-times are caused by one of the grocery store’s parent companies, Bi-Lo LLC, reportedly filing for bankruptcy as early as March. Bi-Lo LLC has reportedly been swimming in debt totaling $1 billion since its 2005 buyout by Lone Star Funds.

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The economic struggles of the parent company are well documented. The company also filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and then again in 2009.

If bankruptcy has to be filed, Bi-Lo would still have an opportunity to restructure its debt in court in hopes to keep them afloat.

According to Bloomberg, ways to work around the growing debt being considered by the debtors and Bi-Lo include a debt-to-equity swap or asset sales.

Bi-Lo’s parent company, Southeastern Grocers, is based in Jacksonville, Florida. As the company’s name suggests, a large portion of its stores are located in five states: Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.

With Alabama being one of the states with a high presence of Winn-Dixie stores, residents across the state will look to see if their local store is being shut down.

This includes in Selma, where Winn-Dixie has struggled before. Back in January of 2016, a Winn-Dixie located on Highland Avenue shut its doors permanently, with it being rumored that this was due to complications over a lease agreement.

This left only one Winn-Dixie in town, located on West Dallas Avenue, which is still open today. However, this location could be one of many on the chopping block.

The details and locations of which stores are going to be closed in each state have not been released by Southeastern Grocers, Bi-Lo LLC or Winn-Dixie.

The Selma Winn-Dixie declined to comment after The Selma Times-Journal reached out for additional information regarding the store.