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    Penn Traffic Stores Performing 'Just Fine': Hedge Fund

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Despite former c.e.o. Robert Chapman's abrupt departure last week, things don't seem to be so bad at the Penn Traffic Co. here, said Bay Harbour Management, a New York-based hedge fund and a major investor in the company, which had the chance recently to tour some of the financially troubled company's stores.

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Despite former c.e.o. Robert Chapman's abrupt departure last week, things don't seem to be so bad at the Penn Traffic Co. here, said Bay Harbour Management, a New York-based hedge fund and a major investor in the company, which had the chance recently to tour some of the financially troubled company's stores.

    During the tour, "I got the sense that some of the stores are doing just fine, doing well," Bay Harbour analyst Scott Sozio told the Syracuse Post-Standard.
    (Story continues below.)

    "Overall, we sense, Penn Traffic is probably doing OK, on an even keel," added Sozio. "But of course, all roads lead back to the financials."

    Bay Harbour has requested that Penn Traffic finally release financial information, which has not been given out the grocer entered bankruptcy protection in May 2003, and to have a stockholders meeting, spurring the retailer to organize the store and company tour. Penn Traffic, which emerged from bankruptcy in April 2005, has said that its lenders have allowed it a Dec. 31 deadline to file its financials.

    Additionally, the company has been the subject of an investigation by the Justice Department and the SEC regarding promotion and allowance practices.

    Bay Harbour's assessment clashes with that of Burt P. Flickinger III of New York-based retail consulting group Strategic Resource Group, who recently performed his own analysis of the stores, subsequently reporting "shockingly soft" sales.

    The company responded to Flickinger's negative analysis by citing its new Fresh Market concept, which "we think our customers like...very much."

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