Shopko files for bankruptcy; one UP store slated to be closed

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Shopko filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday morning, citing “excess debt and ongoing competitive pressures.”

The Ashwaubenon, Wis.-based retailer later released a list of 38 new stores it plans to close. Kingsford was not included, nor were full-size stores in Marquette and Escanaba. All but one of the smaller Hometown-style sites in the U.P., including in Iron River, also were to remain open for now. The Shopko Hometown in Wetmore near Munising had previously been announced for closure.

The only other Michigan sites affected were Hometown stores in Standish and Dowagiac in lower Michigan. In Wisconsin, 16 more stores will be shuttered.

The company said it has secured $480 million in bankruptcy financing and will continue to operate as it attempts to restructure its business.

Shopko is reporting assets of less than $1 billion and liabilities of between $1 billion and $10 billion, according to the Associated Press.

The company also said it will convert more than 20 optical centers to “freestanding locations” and auction off its remaining pharmacy business. In December, it announced plans to close about 40 of its more than 300 stores across the country.

“This decision is a difficult but necessary one,” company CEO Russ Steinhorst said in a news release. “In a challenging retail environment, we have had to make some very tough choices, but we are confident that by operating a smaller and more focused store footprint, we will be able to build a stronger Shopko that will better serve our customers, vendors, employees and other stakeholders through this process.”

Shopko has set up a restructuring website with more information at http://info.shopko.com or by clicking on the “Restructuring” link on www.Shopko.com.

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