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Pizza chain Sbarro has filed for bankruptcy

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:02 p.m. HST, Mar 10, 2014

NEW YORK >> Sbarro has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization for the second time in just three years as the pizza chain struggles to turn its business around amid a drop in traffic at shopping mall food courts.

The bankruptcy filing on Monday comes after the company shuttered 155 of its U.S. locations last month. The Melville, N.Y., company still has about 800 locations globally, half of those in North America.

The pizza chain isn't alone in hurting from the decline in traffic at shopping malls. Earlier this year, the owner of Hot Dot on a Stick also filed for bankruptcy protection, citing the negative impact from the trend.

Sbarro is working to balance out its portfolio of mall-based stores with a new concept called "Pizza Cucinova" that lets people build their own pizzas, company spokesman Jonathan Dedmon said in an email. There are two locations of the new restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, and a third planned for Cincinnati in the summer, Dedmon said.

Sbarro is also trying to update its image for serving re-heated pizza at a time when people are increasingly reaching for foods they feel are fresh and wholesome. Dedmon said the chain has been "emphasizing freshness and quality" of its pizza.

Sbarro first filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2011 and emerged a few months later, saying that it significantly cut its debt and received a capital infusion. A new CEO then led a push to revitalize the chain's image by touting new recipes and ovens. But the efforts apparently didn't take hold.

The company says its latest strategy of store closings and balance sheet restructuring will slash debt by more than 80 percent and improve its profitability. It said its filing is designed to "allow for a quick exit from bankruptcy" as it executes a broader plan developed by the new management team.

Sbarro spokesman Jonathan Dedmon said in February that the locations at Ala Moana Center, Pearlridge Center and Royal Hawaiian Center will remain open.

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Sbarro files for bankruptcy protection again

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cojef wrote:
Food court business is highly competitive and ethnicity of the community can make or break the enterprise. A good example is the Ala Moana Mall where the patrons of the mall are primarily from the orient and the local community almost replicate the tourist visitors. Have stopped at this mall often on our visits and mostly enjoyed the oriental fare. Here in California we visit the Olive Garden which about a mile down the road if we favor Italian food on a given day. There are steakhouses and other restaurants close by so take your pick.
on March 10,2014 | 02:25PM
Tony91 wrote:
On what planet is Oliver Garden considered "Italian"?
on March 10,2014 | 10:01PM
Ronin006 wrote:
The name sounds more like Spanish than Italian. It is no wonder the chain is struggling to get people to buy pizza.
on March 10,2014 | 05:58PM
st1d wrote:
no sorrow here. found a 1 x 1/16 wire in a pizza that i bit into at the ala moana food court. took it back. manager said nothing, did nothing. never went back.
on March 10,2014 | 07:28PM
HD36 wrote:
The propoganda out the last fews months is that the weather is causing all these bad economic numbers. Truth is the average person has less money to spend . They can go Costco get a good pizza for half the price.
on March 10,2014 | 09:36PM
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