Convenience store chain Uni-Marts L.L.C., of State College, filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday but said it will continue to operate its 283 stores and gas stations while it undergoes reorganization.

Uni-Marts, which employs 1,250, is looking to sell its stores, which are in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio, the company said in a statement.

The privately held chain and six subsidiaries filed for relief in federal court in Delaware under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code. It said it had both assets and debt in excess of $50 million.

Company founder and chief executive officer Henry Sahakian said in a statement that the overall economy, along with "aggressive competition in the areas in which we operate, increased fuel and other inventory prices and other matters outside our control" had reduced cash reserves. He also said reserves were hit by a 2007 legal settlement in a dispute over sale of some stores.