PORTLAND, Ore. - Shares of Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. lost more than half their value Friday after a report that the grocer may file for bankruptcy reorganization in the coming days.
The company, one of the oldest supermarket operators in the country, did not immediately respond to a call for comment. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., founded in 1859 and based in Montvale, N.J., owns A&P, Waldbaum's, the Food Emporium, Super Fresh, Pathmark and Food Basics grocery stores.
It operates in eight states in the eastern United States.
Bloomberg News reported Friday that sources familiar with the matter said the company may file for bankruptcy protection as soon as this weekend and that it has hired law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP to represent the company.
A representative from Kirkland & Ellis could not immediately comment.
The grocery chain has struggled for several years with poor sales and heavy debt loads. The company was reportedly in talks with advisory firms in October on how to best deal with its debt burden.
A&P has brought in new management, closed several stores, cut jobs and announced in November that it would sell six Pathmark stores for $89.8 million. The company has also said previously that it is in talks with banks and new lenders about restructuring its debt. But the company launched the turnaround efforts in the midst of the down economy when grocery competition has been at its stiffest and it has failed yield results.
The company reported that its loss doubled in its most recent quarter and that its revenue continued to fall.
Shares of the company fell $1.89, nearly 67 percent, to 94 cents in midmorning trading, but were back to 99 cents shortly after noon. Shares have traded between 86 cents and $13 in the past 52 weeks.