US regional grocery retailer Penn Traffic has said it wants to close 16 stores in four states, cutting 1,035 jobs, as part of its efforts to emerge from bankruptcy.

"These 16 supermarkets were unprofitable or among our least profitable stores, and our analysis indicated that there was little or no potential for them to become more profitable in the future," Steven Panagos, Penn Traffic's interim chief executive officer, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. 

"We believe…that these moves are necessary for Penn Traffic to exit Chapter 11 a stronger, more competitive company," Panagos said. 

Before it can go ahead with its planned closures, the grocer will have to receive permission from the US Bankruptcy Court in White Plains. Spokesman Marc Jampole said the company expects to close the stores by the end of the year.

Penn Traffic, which filed for bankruptcy at the end of May, operates 211 supermarkets in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, under the P&C, Big Bear, Quality and Bi-Lo banners.