A US bankruptcy court has approved plans by regional grocer Penn Traffic to sell nine of its Big Bear stores in Ohio.

Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle is to buy seven of the stores for US$46.8m, while Needler Enterprises and Bob Bay and Son will buy one store each.

Before the sale, Penn Traffic operated 211 supermarkets under the P&C, Big Bear, Quality and Bi-Lo banners.

The Syracuse-based company, which filed for bankruptcy in May, has until 29 January to file a reorganisation plan with the bankruptcy court, reported the Associated Press.