The Pathmark and A&P supermarkets in Brick will not be among 25 stores the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company will close as part of a bankruptcy filing the company announced Monday, though it was not clear if the stores would be among 120 that would be sold in the near-term.
A&P, which operates local supermarkets under its own name as well as Pathmark, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after securing $100 million in financing, the company said in a prepared statement.
“The vast majority of our stores are operating normally and will be fully stocked during this process,” the statement said.
A&P has found buyers for 120 of its stores but operates 296; 25 will close, including the Pathmark store on Indian Head Road in Toms River. Locally, A&P stores in Brick, Ortley Beach and Wall Township will remain open, as well as the Pathmark store in the Laurel Square shopping center in Brick.
Analysts have generally agreed the bankruptcy of A&P was related to a combination of increased competition from Walmart entering the supermarket business, while discount chains such as Aldi and high end chains such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s gobbled up sales in both directions.
“They got caught in a downward spiral of sales declines that forced them to cut costs,” Jim Hertel, a grocery industry consultant, told the Wall Street Journal in a report on the company.
The Wall Street Journal also cited high labor costs as a factor in the inability of A&P to turn its business around. The 120 stores for which buyers have been found will be sold on the condition that no collective bargaining agreements are in place, the report said. About 90 percent of A&P’s workforce is unionized.
Buyers for the 120 stores include Pennsylvania-based Acme and Stop and Shop, PhillyVoice.com reported. Stop and Shop already operates stores in Brick, Point Pleasant Borough and Toms River. Acme currently has locations in Manasquan and Long Beach Island.