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Strack & Van Til (SVT), the northwest Indiana-based supermarket chain owned by grocery cooperative Central Grocers, plans to sell 22 stores and close nine of its Ultra Foods-bannered locations.
"While we don't yet have a signed deal, the proposed transaction calls for 22 stores to be sold as going concerns, which means they would continue to operate and we expect the buyer would offer employment opportunities to most of the stores' current personnel," SVT CEO Jeff Strack said in a statement quoted by InsideIndianaBusiness.com.
The prospective buyer wasn't identified. Officials at Strack & Van TIl couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
The revelation of a complete sell-off of stores comes in the wake of last month’s announcement that the retailer would be closing five stores by the end of April: four in the Chicago area and one in Merrillville, Ind. The latest closings are scattered throughout Chicago’s south and west suburbs, as well as northwest Indiana.
“We all know that our associates work hard to create success at their stores, and these decisions are not a reflection of their individual performance, but rather the increasingly difficult environment for independent supermarkets and retailers,” said Strack, who was appointed CEO less than a year ago. “I want to assure you that decisions like these are made only after careful evaluation, and we are committed to treating affected employees with dignity and respect."
Strack & Van Til is owned by Joliet, Ill.-based co-op Central Grocers, which supplies independent grocery operators.