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Shopko announces more store closures; 15 Minnesota locations now on list

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Shopko says it's closing another 139 stores as the retail chain goes through bankruptcy.

Added to previously announced closures in December and January, that brings the total number of Shopko and Shopko Hometown closures to more than 250 stores — about two-thirds of the Wisconsin-based retail chain's locations.

The closure list includes 15 locations in Minnesota, in Hutchinson, Rochester, St. Peter, Austin, Albert Lea, Worthington, St. Cloud, Paynesville, New Prague, Cokato, Glencoe, St. James, East Grand Forks, Mahnomen and Warroad.

The closure list also includes a number of stores in Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. The stores are slated to close in stages in March, April and May.

The list of stores remaining open can be found here.

Shopko said it plans to relocate about 50 optical centers from stores that are closing to new, stand-alone locations. 

The company said in a statement this week that "through our conversations with ... potential buyers, it has become clear that it is in our best interest to operate with a significantly smaller store footprint."

Shopko filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, saying excessive debt and ongoing competitive pressure were forcing it to seek protection from creditors. At that time, Shopko reported assets of less than $1 billion and liabilities of between $1 billion and $10 billion.

Shopko said in January that it planned to continue operating through Chapter 11 reorganization after securing $480 million in financing from a group of lenders led by Wells Fargo Bank. The financing would allow Shopko to continue to pay employees, vendors and suppliers.

"We remain hopeful that we will be able to emerge as a stronger company," the company said in a statement this week. "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 Associated Press contributed to this report.