Bruno’s is getting auctioned off in bits and pieces today. Unless someone buys the whole chain — which is extremely doubtful — the best case scenario is that someone like Kroger’s buys a lot of the stores and keeps them open. But many stores are certain to close, especially in already hard-hit poor areas. Let’s congratulate the people responsible:
- The Bruno family, whose pursuit of a quick buck destroyed Joe Bruno’s legacy.
- Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, who began the process of stripping the chain for parts, allowed stores to deteriorate, and saddled it with debt, driving it into bankruptcy the first time.
- Ahold, the Dutch company that took over from KKR and did basically the same stuff for a few years.
- Lone Star Funds, the current owners, who have apparently stripped whatever KKR and Ahold couldn’t get from the carcass, and which has allowed the stores to deteriorate to such a degree that some of them are actually scary to enter.
- The employees, who are about as happy to work there as you’d expect, and who have refused to allow the union to make any further concessions to keep the stores open.
- The bankruptcy court, which is allowing the management to pay out $40 million in bonuses to poor, abused executives of the company.
And, okay, Wal-Mart and Publix. Still…