Belle Foods Files Bankruptcy
Belle Foods LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, with the Birmingham, Ala.-based grocery chain claiming a number of factors led to deteriorating financial results.
The Birmingham Business Journal reports that the chain, which has 57 stores and more than 2,850 employees, listed debts of $10 million to $50 million. It said its assets also fall within that range.
The company operates under the banners Belle Foods, Piggly Wiggly and Food World in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. It was founded in 2011 by William and Jeff White, and quickly acquired 57 stores from Southern Family Markets.
The Journal reports that Belle Foods could not immediately be reached for comment.
According to its filing, Belle Foods has two loans with Southern Family Markets, including a term loan with $4 million outstanding and a revolving loan with $24 million outstanding. Those loans are secured by the company’s assets. Belle’s filing said it also owes C&S Wholesale Grocers about $6 million.
The company said it owes about $8 million in accounts payable to other creditors.
Go here to see the list of the company’s largest unsecured creditors.
Among other factors, Belle Foods’ Chapter 11 filing said its older stores have made it difficult to compete with new competition entering its markets.
It also said the nation’s higher payroll taxes have impacted customers, leading them to purchase less. The company also said technical issues with its accounting system led to losses in 2012.
The Journal reports the company has retained Birmingham’s Burr & Forman LLP as its legal representative for the bankruptcy and Food Partners LLC as its investment bankers and financial adviser.