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CHANDLER, AZ-Citing poor credit conditions and a poor economy, Bashas’ Supermarkets Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection late Sunday. An article in the Arizona Republic notes that the local company will shut down 10 Bashas’ and Food City stores by July 21.

The article goes on to say that the company, which has been operating in the area since 1932, owes as much as $55 million in unsecured debt to more than 20,000 vendors. The company also owes $84 million in long-term debt to a group of lenders led by Prudential Securities and $110 million in revolving loans to a group of banks led by Wells Fargo, the article goes on to day.

A press release issued by the company on Monday indicated that the credit crisis and an “especially challenging Arizona economy and stagnation of growth” contributed to the difficulties Bashas’ has experienced. The press release goes on to say that the plan allows the company to emerge from Chapter 11 during Q1 2009. Representatives from the company could not be reached by deadline.

Rick Murphy, senior vice president with CB Richard Ellis’ Phoenix office tells GlobeSt.com that Bashas’ Supermarkets is a very well-run operation that unfortunately got sideswiped by the double-whammy of recession and competition. “This is an awesome chain,” he explains. “It’s really well-run, and it’s too bad this had to happen.”

However, Murphy goes on to say, grocery centers as a whole are still strong, at least comparatively. Though the reorganization is painful right now to the company and its employees, Bashas’ will use it to help improve its overall performance, he says.

“Bashas’ will use this opportunity to review and reject non-performing leases,” he comments. “They’ll likely come out much healthier in the long run.”<p

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