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Shopko Has Filed For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Closing Some Stores

Move Comes After Wisconsin-Based Retailer Fell Behind On Debts

Shopko, Houghton, Michigan
Chris857 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Ashwaubenon-based retail chain Shopko has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced on Wednesday a series of store closings, including 16 in Wisconsin.

The company said that it will be close more than 100 stores during its reorganization, specifically shuttering 16 stores in Wisconsin, with many others scattered mostly across the Midwest.

Some of the other Shopko stores that will close are Hometown or Express. Those tend to serve smaller communities, like in Seymour, Wisconsin, which will be left without a pharmacy. Customers will then have either to have prescription drugs shipped to them or travel to larger cities to fill their needs.

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The company also said it was selling off its pharmacy section and referring customers to stores owned by Kroger or Hy-Vee.

One of the affected locations is “Store Number One,” located in Green Bay. Customer Ella Whittler said she has been a Shopko shopper for “basically, my whole life.” She said she also shops elsewhere and that has been part of the chain’s problem.

“I go to Walmart a lot. That’s probably why Shopko is not surviving because Walmart pretty much beats prices for everything,” she said.

Whittler said she gets her prescription medications from Walgreens, not Shopko.

The filing was prompted by continuing financial woes. Shopko owed a pharmaceutical supplier $67 million.

In 2005, private equity firm Sun Capital Partners purchased Shopko for $1.1 billion. It now has financing to continue operations although on a smaller scale.

Shopko officials said that the filing is meant to safeguard the company.

“Over the past several months, we have been taking action to drive improved performance and strengthen Shopko’s financial position. Today, Shopko took an important step towards protecting our future and ensuring our ability to continue delivering the high-quality products and services that our customers are accustomed to receiving,” Shopko CEO Russ Steinhorst wrote in a statement.

Repeated calls to the company’s corporate headquarters located in Ashwaubenon have gone unreturned.