March 15 (UPI) -- Southeastern Grocers, which owns grocery store chain Winn-Dixie, announced plans to file for bankruptcy and close nearly 100 stores.
The Florida-based company issued a statement Thursday announcing plans to implement a "prepackaged restructuring agreement" including the decision to close 94 "underperforming stores."
"This course of action enables us to continue writing the story for our company and our iconic, heritage banners in the Southeast," president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers Anthony Hucker said.
The store closures will take place in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.
The company said the restructuring will reduce its debt by $500 million.
Southeastern Grocers also owns Bi-Lo, Fresco y Mas and Harveys Supermarkets, and will continue to operate almost 600 stores.
"We will continue to thrive with 582 successful stores in operation and will continue to deliver a store experience our associates, customers and communities can count on," the company said.