NATIONWIDE   –   General merchandise retailer Shopko has announced that it will close around 70 percent of it’s locations as part of a plan to restructure the company. Several Shopko stores across the region are expected to close within the coming months, many in April or May of this year.

In Southwest Wyoming, the Green River and Mountain View Shopko Hometown locations will close. Hometown stores in Tremonton, Brigham City and Roosevelt, Utah will also close. Idaho will see larger traditional Shopko locations shutter in Pocatello, Twin Falls and Logan. A bunch more stores spanning North to South from Ogden to Orem will also close.

In all, 19 Shopko and Shopko Hometown stores will close in Utah by the middle of May, with nine locations in Idaho and six in Wyoming also ceasing operations this spring.

Shopko announced in January that it had filed voluntary petitions for a court-supervised financial restructuring under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. In a press release the company cited excessive debt and ongoing competitive pressure as factors which forced it to seek protection from creditors. The company was reporting assets of less than $1 billion and liabilities of between $1 billion and $10 billion.

Restructuring will likely leave the retailer with fewer than 110 stores, following the closure of 251 locations. The company was previously operating around 360 stores in 24 states.

Shopko says it plans 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 will allow Shopko to continue to pay employees, vendors and suppliers.

“Through our conversations with the potential buyers, it has become clear that it is in our best interest to operate with a significantly smaller store footprint,” Shopko spokeswoman Michelle Hansen said. “We remain hopeful that we will be able to emerge as a stronger company, 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.”