More Shopko stores, including Beloit, to close

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GREEN BAY - The Shopko store in Beloit will close in May, according to information on the company's website.

"Through our conversations with the potential buyers, it has become clear that it is in our best interest to operate with a significantly smaller store footprint," said Michelle Hansen, Shopko spokesperson, in an email to the Beloit Daily News. "Yesterday we announced the closure of an additional 139 Shopko and Shopko Hometown stores. Further, we will relocate approximately 50 optical centers in closing stores to new freestanding locations. We remain hopeful that we will be able to emerge as a stronger company, and we believe that this is the best course of action to make ourselves more attractive to potential buyers and successfully emerge from Chapter 11."

The Beloit store is scheduled to be closed May 12, according to a listing on the Shopko company website. The Beloit store employs 40 full- and part-time people, according to Hansen.

Beloit's Shopko was among five stores to close in Wisconsin, in addition to the previously announced store closings. In addition to Beloit, stores in Columbus, Mayville, Monona and Watertown are scheduled to close.

The store closure announcement follows Shopko's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jan. 16.

Shopko has been announcing higher numbers of store closings since it initially said it would close 38 stores across the nation as part of its restructuring efforts. Shopko had announced in December it was closing 39 stores in 19 states with only one store targeted for closure in Wisconsin. Last week it announced six more Wisconsin stores would close.

Now a total of 33 Shopko stores in Wisconsin are scheduled to close between March and May. Two stores are in Madison while other stores are in Appleton, Beloit, Brillion, Buchanan, Delavan, De Pere, Ellsworth, Grafton, Green Bay, Howard, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Kiel, Kimberly, La Crosse, Ledgeview, Manitowoc, Marinette, Mauston, Mayville, Menasha, Mononah, Neenah, Plover, Port Washington, Racine, Rhinelander, Seymour, Shawano, Sheboygan, Stevens Point, Sussex, Watertown, Waupaca, Wautoma, West Bend and Winneconne.

Stores in Illinois targeted for closing are in Dwight, Mount Carmel, Monmouth, Monticello, Savanna and Tuscola.

Shopko officials previously had said each store employs between 10 and 25 people.

Altogether, Shopko now plans to shutter about 250 stores.

In December it also was announced the pharmacies in Shopko stores in Beloit and Janesville were closing as part of a deal the company made with the Kroger company to sell 42 of its 227 pharmacy locations.

In a news release announcing the bankruptcy filing, it was explained the company was seeking to restructure "as a result of excessive debt and ongoing competitive pressure."

McKesson Corp. had supplied Shopko with $67 million in drugs since Nov. 11 but had not been paid since early December. McKesson asked a judge for a restraining order to keep Shopko from selling the medications it has supplied. Within the court filings, it was indicated that Shopko likely would file for bankruptcy protection.

Shopko was founded in 1962 and is headquartered in Green Bay. Shopko Stores Operating Co., LLC is a $3 billion retailer that operates more than 360 stores in 26 states.

A complete list of store closures is available at https://bit.ly/2SiwcTo.

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