US grocery retailer Penn Traffic has announced that it is seeking permission from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in White Plains to sell nine Big Bear supermarkets in Ohio by the middle of December.

Penn Traffic is asking the court to approve the sale of a group of five of Penn Traffic's Big Bear supermarkets to Giant Eagle for approximately $40.3m and a different group of two stores to Giant Eagle for approximately $6.5m. Penn Traffic also intends to sell its Big Bear store in The Plains to Bob Bay and Son Co, and the Chillicothe Big Bear store to Needler Enterprises.

Penn Traffic said that it has rejected a previous bid by rival grocery Kroger to purchase 11 Big Bear stores.

These sales agreements are a result of the auction of the assets of the Big Bear division that Penn Traffic held last week. "There may be further sales of Big Bear assets in the future," said Steven G. Panagos, Penn Traffic's interim CEO. 

Penn Traffic filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of May this year.

"We are selling these stores as part of our efforts to emerge from chapter 11 as quickly as possible as a stronger, more competitive company," said Panagos.