Walsh: Syracuse is 'in communication' with Tops amid chain's plan to close some stores

Tops location on Pond Street in Syracuse (CNYCentral Photo)

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said the city has been "in communication" with management at Tops Friendly Markets in recent weeks in lieu of the chain's bankruptcy reorganization and its plans to close some of its underperforming stores.

“Tops Markets are an important part of Syracuse neighborhoods," Walsh said in a statement to CNYCentral. "The city has been in communication with Tops management during the past several weeks and is doing everything it can, working with community partners, to support Tops locations in the city. That is and will continue to be the focus of our efforts as the company assesses all of its stores.”

The Buffalo-area grocery chain was given permission last Thursday by a federal bankruptcy judge to close some stores to help offset some of its $720 million debt.

It has not been made clear what stores may be closing.

In determining what stores to close, Tops said debtors will carefully consider the impact of closures on the debtors’ creditors, employees, and other constituencies. In a April 18 court filing, Tops said the vast majority of stores are profitable, cover important regions and are run by talented managers.

Tops filed for bankruptcy back in February, citing a large debt load, falling food prices and a competitive market with Amazon and other retailers. The chain acknowledged at the time it faces tough competition from other local, regional and national supermarket outlets, as well as drug stores, discount stores, fast food chains and big box retailers.

RELATED | Documents: Tops cites large debts, Amazon for filing bankruptcy

Tops has 170 stores across New York, Vermont and Pennsylvania. More than a dozen locations lie in the immediate Syracuse area and several others are scattered across central New York.

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