Business

Grocery pain spreads as Lucky's Market chain files bankruptcy

Chain closed its I.C. store this past spring

A customer exits Lucky's Market in Iowa City in this 2016 photo. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
A customer exits Lucky’s Market in Iowa City in this 2016 photo. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Lucky’s Market, a Colorado-based grocer that bills itself as offering “organic for the 99 percent,” filed for bankruptcy after it began closing most of its stores. About 3,000 jobs are at stake.

The company listed assets of as much as $500 million and liabilities of at least that amount in a bankruptcy petition filed Monday in Delaware.

Lucky’s operated 39 stores before it started winding down and liquidating 32 of them in recent weeks, court papers show.

The chain closed its Iowa City store in March.

Lucky’s arranged an investment from Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. in 2016, but the grocery giant said in December it would divest and took a $238 million impairment on the stake.

Bankruptcy court papers list Kroger as owning 55 percent of Lucky’s Market Parent Co.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a company to continue operating while it works out a plan to pay creditors. Some Lucky’s stores in Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Michigan and Missouri will stay open, the company said in a tweet last week.

The retailer sought protection from creditors just days after Fairway Group Holdings, a Manhattan grocer that fell prey to a high debt load and competition from the likes of Whole Foods Market.

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Groceries have come under pressure from home delivery services such as Amazon.com, as well as competition from food sections at Walmart, Target and Costco stores.

A Lucky’s representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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