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Bloomberg: Winn-Dixie, Harveys Owner Could Be Preparing For Bankruptcy

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The Jacksonville-based parent company behind Winn-Dixie and Harveys may file for bankruptcy as soon as March, according to Bloomberg.

The financial website is citing unnamed sources in a story that also asserts Bi-Lo LLC is planning to shut almost 200 stores.

Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo completed a merger in 2012 to form Bi-Lo Holding, which became known as SoutheasternGrocers. The company is headquartered in Jacksonville.

In November, Grocery Headquarters, a supermarket trade website, reported Southeastern Grocers was negotiating with lenders over refinancing $1 billion in debt, writing at the time that it could result in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring.

WJCT News reached out Southeastern Grocers for comment, receiving the following response Monday from spokesman Joe Caldwell:

Southeastern Grocers is undertaking an ongoing strategic review in advance of our unsecured bond maturity later this year. The company's business operations continue to be strong, as we serve our customers with quality and commitment by working seamlessly with our business partners every day. We are dedicated to being a great place for associates to work and a great place for our customers to shop by providing quality, service and value in the communities we serve.

Bloomberg also did a similar story in November, writing, by “some accounts, Bi-Lo is close to default, putting in jeopardy about $1 billion of debt and 50,000 jobs at Winn-Dixie, Harveys, Fresco y Mas and its namesake stores.” 

Moody's also downgraded the company as an investment in November, writing, "The high refinancing risk due to the company's significant debt maturities in 2018 and 2019 is a cause for concern as the current capital structure is unsustainable.”

The company operates Winn-Dixie and Harveys stores on the First Coast along with Bi-Lo and Fresco y Más in other markets.

More than 30 Winn-Dixie stores are located within 25 miles of downtown Jacksonville, according to Winn-Dixie's store locator, and so are eight Harveys locations, according to the Harveys website.

The company also has grocery stores in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.