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Earth Fare grocery chain closing all its stores in 10 states

Healthy foods supermarket chain Earth Fare is shutting all of its stores in 10 states, making it the third grocery moving to close its doors or seek a buyer in recent weeks.

"Continued challenges in the retail industry impeded the company's progress as well as its ability to refinance its debt," the company, backed by private-equity firm Oak Hill Capital, said in a statement. "We have made the difficult, but necessary, decision to commence inventory liquidation sales while we continue to engage in a process to find potential suitors for our stores."

The liquidation sales will include an assortment of merchandise at "very significant price reductions," Earth Fare added. 

Founded in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1975, Earth Fare has roughly 50 stores and 3,000 employees in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

At least two other grocery chains have recently announced they were closing. Lucky's Market filed for bankruptcy last week while looking to close or sell more than 30 stores in 10 states. That decision followed a move by Kroger, the country's largest grocer, to sell its stake in the natural foods chain founded in 2003. 

Fairway Market in January filed for bankruptcy protection and offered to sell its stores in New York City and a distribution center to Village Super Market, which runs under the ShopRite brand.

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