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KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Larry's Markets this week revealed that the six-store chain, based here, is looking to sell the company and has filed for financial protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code while it engages in sales negotiations.
"There are several interested parties with whom we are talking," said Larry's c.e.o. Mark McKinney, who currently owns 74 percent of the company, in a statement. "They appreciate the strong position Larry's has in the Puget Sound area, our loyal customer base, our exceptional employees, and the innovative things we've accomplished throughout our history....The Chapter 11 filing allows for continued operations and the time to successfully continue and complete the discussions regarding the sale of our stores. It is a difficult personal step to take, but one we feel is the best option."
McKinney added that the company anticipated that the sales process would be completed in the next 90 to 120 days, but meanwhile it would be "business as usual" at the retailer's stores.
He noted that the company has been challenged by such conditions as a heavy debt load and an ever more competitive market, which includes such formidable rivals as Wal-Mart and Whole Foods.
"Our plan is to sell our stores and preserve the employment of our employees and our service to our customers in a seamless transition," continued McKinney, who three years ago succeeded his father, Larry, at the head of the business.
In its bankruptcy filing Larry's claims assets of $12.57 million and liabilities of $21.49 million, with accounts receivable of $16,925, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported yesterday. The newspaper further said that local chains Haggen, PCC Markets, and Metropolitan Market all declined to say whether they were the "interested parties" currently in discussions with Larry's
Larry's Markets has about 550 employees and operates stores in Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland, and Tukwila, Wash., as well as two in Seattle.