GREENVILLE, S.C. — Bi-Lo Holdings here on Tuesday asked a judge in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to extend the deadline by which the retailer could file an exclusive plan of reorganization until Dec. 20.
The retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in March, and had an initial exclusive plan date of mid-July, said it would use the extra time to continue to develop a five-year plan to improve operations, increase profitability and adjust its geographical footprint, if necessary. That analysis would then determine its best course to emerge from bankruptcy, including a possible sale or liquidation, Bi-Lo said.
In a court petition requesting the extension, Bi-Lo said that it had improved comparable-store sales, market share and EBITDA through the first 20 weeks of the year ending May 23. Sales were flat compared with the same period last year despite having eight fewer stores, the company added.
A comparable-store sales increase of 1.4% during the period was the retailer’s first such gain in more than two years. Market share increased in March, April and May, the company added, “reflecting the resurgence of the Bi-Lo brand vs. other food retailers in the market.”
The five-year plan comprises a comprehensive analysis of the company and its prospects and is expected to be complete in mid-July. The outcome of that study would affect the company’s reorganization.
Bi-Lo also noted an extension would allow the company to meet certain deadlines related to its financing facility and to work out some “significant issues” with its supplier, C&S Wholesale Grocers.
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