PENN TRAFFIC TO CLOSE 16 STORES

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Penn Traffic Co. here said it will seek permission from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y., to close 16 supermarkets.Steven Panagos, Penn Traffic's interim chief executive officer, said, "These 16 stores were unprofitable or among our least profitable stores, and our analysis indicated that there was little or no potential for them to become more profitable in the future."The

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Penn Traffic Co. here said it will seek permission from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y., to close 16 supermarkets.

Steven Panagos, Penn Traffic's interim chief executive officer, said, "These 16 stores were unprofitable or among our least profitable stores, and our analysis indicated that there was little or no potential for them to become more profitable in the future."

The stores to be closed include 10 Big Bear units in Ohio and West Virginia; two Bilo Foods units in Pennsylvania; two P&C units in New York; and two Quality Markets in New York.

Penn Traffic also said it has filed a Key Employee Retention Plan with the court. A company spokesman told SN that "every company in financial difficulty or Chapter 11" files such a plan.

Penn Traffic's calls for paying up to $16.6 million in incentives and severance protection for nearly 1,400 employees, according to the spokesman.

Penn Traffic filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May.