North Carolina-based Earth Fare to close its stores

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Organic grocery chain Earth Fare says it is closing all of its stores, saying it can’t refinance its debt and it faces sales challenges.

The Asheville, North Carolina-based chain said Monday that workers at its stores across the South and in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, have been notified of the pending closures as part of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported, citing a news release.

The store didn’t immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press on Monday seeking additional comment.

Earth Fare, which started in 1975, has tried “numerous strategic initiatives aimed at growth and expansion and enhancing the customer experience” in recent years, the company said. But it was not enough.

“While many of these initiatives improved the business, continued challenges in the retail industry impeded the company’s progress as well as its ability to refinance its debt,” the statement reads. “As a result, Earth Fare is not in a financial position to continue to operate on a go-forward basis.

The statement said the chain would continue to look for potential suitors for its stores.

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