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MONTVALE, N.J. -- The dissolution of A&P-owned Detroit-area grocery chain Farmer Jack is in sight, with July 7 set as a deadline to have all stores either sold or shuttered, spokesman Rick DeSanta told Progressive Grocer.
"This means that on or about that date, stores would either be operating under [new] ownership or be closed," DeSanta said.
DeSanta said recent media reports that retailers such as Kroger - a fellow unionized grocer -- and Spartan would buy some of the financially struggling chain's stores are premature, at best.
"The fact is we have announced no sales yet," he said. "We are in advanced negotiation stages for the majority of stores." He did not identify any companies with whom A&P is negotiating, or which stores are under consideration.
DeSanta noted that the July 7 date was contingent on the status of the talks with prospective buyers. "Beyond that date, we would obviously continue pursuing the sale of any remaining 'dark' stores," he said.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 876 president Roger Robinson told local newspapers that any unsold stores would have their inventories sold and doors padlocked. Whether buyers of the stores will immediately rehire the Farmer Jack employees, 4,800 of which the union represents, is as yet unknown.
A&P operates 66 Farmer Jack stores in the Detroit area. After failing to interest a buyer in purchasing the entire chain, the company opted to take bids on individual stores.