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The end of Bruno's Supermarkets, LLC in its present form could begin as early as this week as a bankruptcy court auction scheduled for Wednesday gets under way, according to a published account. The auction is expected to result in some stores being sold off and others shuttered.
The Birmingham, Ala., News cited several reasons for the Southern grocer’s ultimate decline, including the loss of is original leadership in a 1991 plane crash; its acquisition by a succession of out-of-state entities -- Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Royal Ahold and Lone Star Funds -- with varying business models and cultural perspectives that weren’t good fits for the regional retailer; and stiff competition from the likes of Walmart and Publix.
In the most recent Bruno's bankruptcy case, filed in February (it previously filed in 1998), the company said that its labor contracts with the United Food and Commercial Workers placed it at a competitive disadvantage. Ten of the grocer’s 66 Bruno's and Food World stores in Alabama and Florida have already been slated to close. Workers have threatened to strike if the court nullifies the contracts.
Bruno’s officials were unavailable for comment.