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Fairway denies it's filing for bankruptcy or closing 14 stores

The Fairway market in Plainview is seen in

The Fairway market in Plainview is seen in 2012. In July 2016, the company closed its grocery store in Lake Grove, which had opened two years earlier. Credit: Barry Sloan

Fairway Market is denying that it will file for liquidation bankruptcy and close its 14 grocery stores.

Citing anonymous sources, the New York Post reported Tuesday that the retailer planned to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and close its stores, including its flagship Upper West Side location at Broadway and West 74th Street, after failing to find a buyer for them.

"Despite reports, Fairway Market has no intention to file for Chapter 7 or liquidate all of its stores. Such statements are categorically untrue and disappointing," Manhattan-based Fairway Group Holdings Corp. said Wednesday in a statement.

"Fairway has been engaged in a strategic process and expects to soon announce a value maximizing transaction that will provide for the ongoing operations of stores," the statement said. "Our lenders remain extremely supportive of our efforts. All 14 stores remain open for business, offering a complete range of high quality, specialty food products, and we look forward to seeing our customers and employees."

A Fairway official said the company would have no further comment.

Fairway was founded in 1933 and has 14 stores in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, including two Long Island locations — in Plainview and Westbury.

The company has a $174 million debt load and expensive leases, the Post reported sources as saying.

Now owned by lead shareholders Brigade Capital Management and Goldman Sachs Group, Fairway is quietly closing stores, including a 65,000-square-foot store in Nanuet that closed in September, the Post reported.

Brigade Capital Management declined to comment. Goldman Sachs Group emailed a link to the statement on Fairway Market’s website.

In May 2016, Fairway Group Holdings Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after reaching a restructuring deal with creditors.

In July 2016, the company closed its 50,000-square-foot grocery store in Lake Grove, which had opened two years earlier.

Fairway Market's Westbury store opened in Raceway Plaza in 2012 and occupies about 60,000 square feet, said Aaron Fleishaker, executive vice president of real estate for The Mattone Group, the Queens-based co-owner and manager of the shopping center.

The grocer’s Plainview store opened in 2001 in Manetto Hill Plaza, said Jennifer Maisch, spokeswoman for Kimco Realty Corp., the New Hyde Park-based owner of the shopping center. At 55,162 square feet, Fairway Market is the largest tenant in Manetto Hill Plaza, according to Kimco’s website.

Fairway is an iconic urban food retailer whose quality and unique offerings are well-known, said Jon Hauptman, senior director of Inmar, a retail industry analytics company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

"They really had their finger on the pulse of the NYC shopper. Unfortunately, their offering and appeal did not take as well in the suburbs where there are more options available," he said.

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