Penn Traffic to close 53 stores

The Penn Traffic Co. has told New York officials it expects to close dozens of supermarkets in upstate New York and lay off more than 4,000 employees, Reuters reported.

The Syracuse, N.Y.-based supermarket chain’s layoff notice filed with the state Labor Department says it will close 53 P&C and Quality Markets in central and western New York by Feb. 15.

Penn Traffic says the layoffs include 669 jobs at two suburban Syracuse warehouses the company uses through C&S Wholesale Grocers.

Penn Traffic filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week. It also operates stores in Pennsylvania, Vermont and New Hampshire.

It was unclear if stores outside of New York also will be affected, the report said.

In addition to its P&C and Quality Markets stores in upstate New York, Penn Traffic operates nine Quality Markets and 33 BiLo stores in Pennsylvania, and three P&C stores in northern New England. Employment in all four states totals about 5,700.

Penn Traffic has struggled financially for more than a decade. It emerged from a nearly two-year bankruptcy reorganization in April 2005, but has continued to lose money. It lost $17.6 million last year and nearly $42 million the previous year.

The company also went through bankruptcy reorganization in 1999.

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