Jacksonville has filed for Chapter 11 Bankrupcy protection as vendors
tighten terms for the money-losing grocery chain. The stores in Southwest
Florida are third in market share after giant Wal Mart and Publix. Their
stock has fallen from near $4.30 a share last fall to about $1.50 today. The
Company is taking steps to substantially reduce its lease obligations on
previously closed stores through the Bankrupcy Court.
A press release from the company says, "Following the recent announcement of
Winn-Dixie's second quarter financial results, in which the Company reported
increased losses and reduced liquidity, coupled with subsequent credit
downgrades from the major debt rating agencies, Winn-Dixie experienced a
tightening of trade credit from some of its vendors, which further reduced
its cash availability. No final decisions regarding any additional store
closings or market departures, beyond those previously announced by the
Company, have been made at this time. The Company will announce any such
decisions at a later date."
In LaBelle at the store on Main Street, shoppers may have noticed higher
prices lately and less waiting at checkout lines. The in-store bank closed
up several months back. Whether the LaBelle store will remain open depends
on future decisions of profitability outlooks for the store and the outcome
of the Bankrupcy filings. The LaBelle property is leased by Winn-Dixie from
the Chester Dix LaBelle Corp. of Jacksonville who purchased the property for
$3.1 million in 1996 and on the tax rolls by the county property assessor
now at $4 million.