DALLAS -- Fleming here promised last week to improve service levels to its retail customers as it entered the second week of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
for the inconvenience and promised improvements.
He also asked any retailers who encounter further problems or who need help to call his office directly.
In related matters:
Willmott said in an affidavit filed with the Bankruptcy Court that Fleming was "in discussions with a buyer" to sell its 32 Rainbow Foods locations in Minnesota, though he wasn't specific and the company declined last week to expand on his statement when contacted by SN.
Fleming was scheduled to go to court late last week to consider critical vendor relief.
In the memo, which was distributed last Monday, Willmott wrote, "Fleming has an important but simple mission in assuring your success -- keeping your stores well stocked in a timely fashion.
"Unfortunately, I know that we have not totally fulfilled this mission and, in recent days, our service levels have dropped. That is unacceptable to you, and it is unacceptable to all of us at Fleming as well.
"One reason for this decline in service is understandable: Because of the uncertainty last week [the week the company filed Chapter 11] around when we would be able to access our cash on hand and use the interim financing we arranged, some of our trade partners temporarily postponed shipments to us.
"However, I am pleased to say that, following the court's approval of our first-day motions [on April 4], we began to spend more than $100 million in cash receipts that was immediately available for payment to our suppliers.
"Over the weekend [of April 5 to 6], we placed the orders, and the goods are beginning to flow to us. These products will be shipped to you on your regular schedule.
"While this is good news, there is one glitch: There was a two-day delay while we worked out our financing agreement and got our motions approved by the court. As a result, there might be a short delay in completely filling all your orders as we refill our pipeline.
"Please know that neither meat nor produce has been significantly affected by these delays, and we expect to solidify service levels in those areas.
"We apologize for any inconvenience you may experience. In the days and weeks ahead, our Chapter 11 filing, coupled with the support of our vendors and the dedication of our people, will enable us to serve you with more precision."