Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea, the supermarket company known as A&P, and certain affiliates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late on Sunday.
The company, which owns stores such as A&P, Best Cellars, Pathmark, Superfresh and Waldbaum's, listed assets and liabilities of more than $1 billion in its bankruptcy filing.
A&P, which was founded in 1859 by George Huntington Hartford and George Gilman, began operations as the Great American Tea. Its first store, on Vesey Street in Manhattan, sold coffee, tea and spices at low prices, according to its website.
The grocer has received debtor-in-possession financing of $100 million from Fortress Credit, court documents show.
The company has lined up buyers for 120 of its 296 stores with total expected proceeds of about $600 million, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.
Read More'Shark Tank,' Wal-Mart style
The Montvale, New Jersey-based company employs about 34,000, according to its website.
A&P had earlier filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010, drained of cash by tough competition and a sluggish economic recovery. It emerged from bankruptcy in March 2012 as a privately held company after securing financing and shutting several stores.
The case is in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, Case No: 15-23007.