Experts say Tops Markets could file for bankruptcy

Reports from business news service Bloomberg indicate that Tops Markets ownership could file bankruptcy in the coming weeks.

With three local stores — in Sheffield, Warren, and Youngsville — Tops has a significant presence in Warren County.

The filing would be a step to protect the company from creditors, according to Bloomberg.

A manager at the Warren Tops did not offer comment and referred questions to the corporate office.

A call to the media relations department at the corporate office in Williamsville, N.Y., was not returned Monday.

According to Bloomberg, Morgan Stanley Private Equity bought Tops from a Dutch retailer in 2007 for $310 million.

“Tops expanded quickly under its new owner, from 71 outlets in 2007 to more than 150 by 2013, and operating results initially improved,” according to Bloomberg. “But same-store sales began to fall and debt was used to help finance at least $375 million in dividends for its private-equity owners. Management bought out Morgan Stanley in 2013 through another leveraged transaction.”

According to the report, the company that formerly occupied the Warren Tops’ location — Bi-Lo — is also contemplating a bankruptcy filing, possibly in March.

Bloomberg reported that Bi-Lo may close almost 200 stores and previously filed bankruptcy in 2005 and 2009.

According to the report, the industry is facing increasing competition from big box retailers and