Shopko files for bankruptcy; Perry store to stay open for now

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The Shopko Hometown store at 1305 141st St. in Perry closed June 16, 2019, but a new owner and occupant might be on the horizon.

Shopko Stores Operating Co. LLC filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday, but the Perry store is not among the 11 Iowa stores slated for closure in March and April.

Excessive debt and ongoing competitive pressures were blamed in a press release for forcing the 57-year-old company to seek protection from creditors. Shopko reported assets of less than $1 billion and liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion.

Jim Lutmer, manager of the Perry Shopko at 1305 141st St., was not available for comment Wednesday, but Assistant Manager Julia Beem said the Perry store’s 15 full-time and part-time employees are secure for now.

“We will be staying open at this point in time,” Beem said. “Other than that, they really aren’t letting us comment too much else.”

The company announced it will close 105 stores, including the company’s original store in Green Bay, Wis., according to a website with information on the restructuring.

Iowa stores to close in March and April include outlets in Bloomfield, Burlington, Cherokee, Clarinda, Eldora, Estherville, Fort Madison, Hampton, Onawa, Vinton and Webster City.

Founded in 1962, Shopko operates 367 stores in 25 states, including full Shopko stores, Hometown stores, Shopko Express and Shopko Optical locations, according to its website.

The company will also transition 20 optical centers from existing Shopko stores into standlone locations, and it has announced plans to auction off its remaining pharmacy business that Kroger, Hy-Vee and CVS did not purchase in separate deals announced in December.

The company said it has secured up to $480 million in financing from a group of lenders led by Wells Fargo Bank that will enable it to continue operating through the reorganization. It will also enable the company to pay suppliers, employees and vendors in a timely manner.

Shopko filed its Chapter 11 paperwork in U.S. bankruptcy court in the Nebraska district. Court filings indicate the corporation currently employs more than 14,000 people and reported $2.7 billion in sales in 2017. The company’s 30 largest unsecured creditors are owed a combined $122.8 million.

Another discount retailer, ALCO Stores Inc., closed its Perry outlet in 2014 in a bankruptcy process.

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