A&P is expected to notify all of its employees of impending layoffs as it proceeds with plans to close or sell all of its stores under its Chapter 11 bankruptcy wind-down. A&P employs approximately 28,500.
Sources told SN Tuesday the notices were procedural in nature and issued "out of an abundance of caution," as the retailer seeks buyers for its 297 stores.
An A&P spokesman declined comment.
Robert Drain, the judge presiding over the case on Monday, granted approval for A&P to proceed with auctions for 118 stores and gave final approval for the retailer to close 25 stores. As previously reported, the sale of the 118 stores could raise as much as $600 million. Acme Markets (76 stores), Stop & Shop (25 stores) and Key Food (17, down from 19 previously) have been identified as "stalking horse" bidders for those units. Going-out-of-business sales are already underway at the 25 closing stores.
Drain on Monday also said Montvale, N.J.-based A&P could continue to borrow on a $100 million financing package provided by Fortress Investment Group and approved rejection of 10 dark store leases.
Union sources said they were informed Monday that A&P would issue Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) to all of its employees. This includes a notice to members in stores that are sold, as well as a notice to members in stores scheduled to close or not yet sold.
The federal WARN act requires employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.
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In a message to members posted on the website of UFCW 464A, one of 12 local chapters of the United Food and Commercial Workers union representing A&P employees, the WARN notifications is “a positive procedural occurrence and should not be viewed in any manner as any type of a problem. It will not interfere with the sale to Albertsons, Stop & Shop or any prospective buyers.”
The UFCW is expected to continue negotiations with company officials Tuesday over proposed contract adjustments A&P said were necessary to commence its proposed store sales.
Published reports said A&P has received interest from 220 parties for some of the 154 "Tier II" stores that remain open but are not part of the "stalking horse" bids.
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