The healthy but affordable grocery store chain, Fresh & Easy, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Wilmington, Delaware on Friday. The chain operates 97 stores in Arizona, California and Nevada. This, like the recent Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (“A&P”) bankruptcy case, is the company’s second Chapter 11 filing in recent years.

Bankruptcy documents filed on Friday named Amir Agam of FTI Consulting Inc. as the Chief Restructuring Officer. The documents listed the debtor’s assets as between $10 and $50 million, with debts between $100 and $500 million.

This recent filing should serve as a warning to property owners. Landlords need to ensure that their claims are assets and are protected in the bankruptcy case. Like the A&P case, there will most likely be a number of auctions and discrete sales of the leases. It is vital that landlords contact counsel and develop a plan for their next steps.

Stark & Stark regularly represents landlords and trade creditors in Chapter 11 proceedings across the country, including filings in New York and Delaware. Whether or not you contact our Commercial, Retail, Industrial and Multi-Family Practice Group, landlords and trade creditors are strongly encouraged to contact legal counsel immediately.