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Winn-Dixie set to close: Company looking for buyer for local store

The Thomson Winn-Dixie store is one of 326 that will be caught up in the grocery giant's Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

Company Spokeswoman Terry Derreberry said late Tuesday the store would be included in a group that will either be put up for sale or closed. She said more news about the fate of the Thomson store could be available by the end of the month.

"We regret that these decisions will impact a significant number of our associates, customers and the community," she said. "We prefer to sell the affected stores and facilities to new owners who will continue to operate them."

Winn-Dixie officials announced the restructuring Tuesday, saying they would be pulling out of markets in Alexandria, La.; Atlanta; Augusta; Charleston, S.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Columbia, S.C.; Columbus-Tupelo, Miss.; Greensboro-High Point, N.C.; Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.; Huntsville, Ala.; Jackson, Miss; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; and Savannah.

"It is an extremely hard decision that we have got to make, but to get the company back in good financial health, it was a decision that we had to make," Ms. Derreberry said.

Winn-Dixie is also putting its six dairy and three manufacturing plants up for sale, including its Astor Products plant in Jacksonville, Fla.

The store and plant closings will affect 22,000 of the company's 78,000 workers.

Winn-Dixie, which filed a petition to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in February, will put all 326 stores up for sale. The sales will be made through an auction process conducted by the bankruptcy court, and President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Lynch said he hopes that will be completed by Aug. 1. Any stores not sold will likely be closed down within about four weeks after the auction process is finished.

After the reorganization, the Jacksonville-based company will have a chain of 587 stores in five states and the Bahamas.

Reports from Morris News Service were used in this article.

Web posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2005


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