DES MOINES, Iowa — All Dahl’s grocery stores are expected to be sold by early March, according to documents filed in the supermarket’s bankruptcy case.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Anita Shodeen on Thursday ordered the auction of Dahl’s assets to take place Jan. 19, and the winning bidder or bidders be approved by Jan. 30. The final sale is expected to be completed by March 2, the Des Moines Register reports.
The 83-year-old Des Moines-based grocery store chain filed a $41 million bankruptcy Nov. 9, asking that it be allowed to reorganize. The grocer’s sales had declined because of increased competition in the market and its inability to react adequately to the situation, the company has said.
At least one of the 10 remaining stores may have a buyer, said Jeffrey Goetz, a Des Moines attorney representing Dahl’s in the bankruptcy petition. “Active discussions” are underway for the sale of the Dahl’s store at 86th Street and Hickman Road in Clive, he said. He declined to give the interested party’s name or other information about the potential sale.
“There’s been no agreement signed,” he said.
Kansas City, Kan.-based Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc., which is the supplier for Dahl’s and the owner of six of Dahl’s buildings, said it plans to buy the chain’s assets and rebrand the stores. AWG is a retailer-owned grocery cooperative and grocery distributor.
AWG has offered to buy the chain’s assets for a base price of $4.8 million, which could be adjusted depending on the value of inventory and other items. Under one scenario, one of AWG’s co-op members could own the stores, with AWG funding the acquisition.
The auction will allow other potential buyers to make bids for all of the chain’s assets or some of them, such as selected stores.
Craig Moore, Dahl’s chief executive, said that sales have declined 8 percent since the company filed for bankruptcy, about 3 percent more than was originally expected after it filed the petition. He blamed the decline in part on negative publicity surrounding the filing.
The bankruptcy court Wednesday approved a $6.6 million loan from AWG to keep Dahl’s operating in bankruptcy.