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    A&P Wants to Sell Off All Stores

    Judge tells grocer, unions to settle dispute

    The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) has revealed what many have widely speculated since the grocer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month: It’s officially seeking to dispose of its remaining 153 locations, in addition to its original plans to close 25 stores and sell 118, according to published reports.

    The properties consist of The Food Emporium locations in Manhattan; A&Ps in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey; Food Basics supermarkets in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania; Pathmarks in Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania; Superfresh locations in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania; Waldbaum's stores in New York; and Best Cellars/Wines & Spirits in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.

    Bids are due by Sept. 11, with auctions for the 118 stores for which bids have been entered scheduled for Sept. 24 and Sept. 25, while the deadline to object to the attempted selling of the 153 remaining locations is Oct. 2, The New Jersey Herald reported. Potential bidders could be ShopRite and C&S Wholesale Grocers, among other metro-New York regional grocery operators.

    In related news, A&P had earlier asked the judge overseeing the Chapter 11 proceedings at U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y., to set aside two collective bargaining agreement provisions, those of paying full severance and automatically conferring seniority rights, as a way to finalize sales agreements with buyers and potentially save some associates’ jobs. The unions responded that workers had already given up millions in wage and benefit concessions during the grocer's 2010 bankruptcy, at which time the A&P agreed to honor the provisions currently at issue and said it would sell any stores only to union employers.

    Judge Robert P. Drain originally asked both sides to resolve their differences by Wednesday, Aug. 19, but the hearing scheduled for that date has been postponed, suggesting that no resolution has been reached yet.

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