Shopko supplier says retailer likely to file bankruptcy

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BDN file photo The Shopko store on Prairie Avenue in Beloit is seen in this file photo. McKesson Corp., a pharmaceutical drug supplier for Shopko announced it supplied Shopko with $67 million in drugs since November, but has not been paid since December. McKesson officials said they expect Shopko to file for bankruptcy protection next week.

ASHWAUBENON, Wis. - A pharmaceutical drug supplier to Shopko says the Wisconsin-based retail chain is expected to file for bankruptcy next week.

McKesson Corp. says it supplied Shopko with $67 million in drugs since Nov. 11 but has not been paid since early December. McKesson this week asked a judge for a restraining order to keep Shopko from selling the medications it has supplied. McKesson attorney Jeff Garfinkle said during a court hearing that Shopko is expected to file for bankruptcy protection Jan. 15.

Press-Gazette Media says Shopko attorney Stephen Hackney said a restraining order would require the retailer to close its pharmacies and would harm patients who need the medications.

Brown County Circuit Judge William Atkinson rejected McKesson's request. Neither Shopko, nor its parent company, Sun Capital Partners, returned calls for comment.

On Dec. 14, the Beloit Daily News reported Shopko had entered into an agreement to sell 42 of its 227 pharmacy locations in the United States to the Kroger company. The sale was to include 27 of Shopko's 72 pharmacy locations in Wisconsin and would result in the closing of the Beloit and Janesville pharmacy locations.

Michelle Hansen, a public relations official from ShopKo headquarters, said pharmacy files in Beloit are being transferred to CVS pharmacy.

The other ShopKo pharmacies to close in Wisconsin include three pharmacies in Appleton, three locations in Green Bay, as well as locations in Fond du Lac, Grafton, Kenosha, Kimberly, Manitowoc, Marshfield, Menasha, Neenah, Oshkosh, Plover, Racine, Rothschild, Sheboygan, Stevens Point, Sussex, Watertown, Wausau, West Bend and Wisconsin Rapids.

ShopKo also announced in December that it would close 39 of its stores in 19 states, with the only Wisconsin store targeted for closure being in Mauston. ShopKo, founded in 1962, operates 370 stores in 26 states. The store closures are expected to be complete in February.

Requests by the Beloit Daily News to Shopko's home office for a comment on the report of a possible bankruptcy filing did not receive a response.

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