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November 25, 2009

TOWN OF LOCKORT: Quality Markets may close

TOWN OF LOCKPORT — Quality Markets could close and lose 71 jobs by February according to a state labor department filing by parent company Penn Traffic.

The Syracuse-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week and notified the state labor department that it will lay off 4,142 employees by Feb. 15.

The layoffs at the Rochester Road Quality Markets would include 66 United Food and Commercial Workers Local One employees and five non-union employees.

Penn Traffic will be closing a plant in the Syracuse area. The parent company operates Quality Markets, as well as P&C; Foods and Bi-Lo grocery stores in New York, Vermont and Pennsylvania.

The potential layoffs were blamed on the poor economy, according to the Nov. 19 state “WARN” filing by Penn Traffic. WARN stands for Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification, which means employers must file notification of mass layoffs 90 days before they take place.

Penn Traffic President and Chief Executive Officer Gregory Young said in a statement that the company is looking to sell some of its stores, including Quality.

According to bankruptcy documents, the company wants to sell all or part of their assets, otherwise Penn Traffic would have to close all of its stores.

“Our P&C;, Quality and Bi-Lo supermarkets remain open for business to serve our customers and communities,” Young said. “We intend to continue to work closely with our vendor partners to provide the fresh products and good value that our customers have come to expect from our stores.”

The Penn Traffic Co. sent letters to its facilities stating that the company is actively working to either find a buyer or financing. Company representatives did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Penn Traffic has struggled financially for some time now. It emerged from a two-year bankruptcy reorganization in April 2005, but has continued to lose money. It lost $17.6 million last year and nearly $42 million the previous year. The company also went through bankruptcy reorganization in 1999.

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