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DALLAS -- When Fleming acquired South San Francisco, Calif. distributor Core-Mark three years ago, along with several smaller regional distribution businesses, it had lofty plans to be the great consolidator of the convenience store distribution world that would compete nationally with McLane Co. Inc.
But as so many convenience store and petroleum companies have learned -- Swifty Serve, Dairy Mart, Convenience USA being among the most prominent -- this economy was the wrong time to expand by racking up debt. Yesterday a Fleming spokesman acknowledged as much when he formally said the bankrupt distributor soliciting offers for its crown jewel Core-Mark business. The company would then only be left with its Head Distributing Co., which is also reportedly available to the highest bidder.
Fleming filed for bankruptcy April 1, shortly after severing ties with its largest customer, Kmart Corp. Officials say the company has continued to lose customers since the bankruptcy.
Fleming said last week that it had received bankruptcy court permission to sell 17 closed discount grocery stores in Texas and Louisiana for undisclosed terms to Grocery Outlet Inc. of Berkeley, Calif. Fleming is also in the process of selling its wholesale grocery distribution business to C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. of Brattleboro, Vt.