US grocer Belle Foods has filed for bankruptcy, reportedly citing slowing sales, issues with creditors and increasing competition.

The retailer, which operates stores across Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the US Bankruptcy Court in Alabama yesterday (2 July), just a year after setting up operations.

In court documents, Belle stated: “After a considered review of the financial condition of the company, the company finds it is in its best business interest to file for relief under Chapter 11.”

According to documents filed with the state, Belle Foods said competition from other grocers also contributed to the bankruptcy. In addition, the company said its customer base is seeing “an increased amount of competition in several of its markets from other grocers”, US publication Inquisitr noted.

The filing revealed Belle has between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors, assets of between $10-50m and liabilities of the same amount.

The company is family-owned and acquired 57 stores from Southern Family Markets in July 2012 when it began operations. Store banners include Piggly Wiggly, Bruno’s, and Food World, but the company was in the process of rebranding to Belle Foods.

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