The company that operates the A&P grocery chain says it has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a private company.

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection in late 2010 after struggling with weak sales and enormous debts.

The company has secured financing for operations and has a new management team in place. It also has negotiated new agreements with suppliers and its employee unions.

A&P now operates more than 300 grocery and drug stores in six states under the A&P, Best Cellars, Food Basics, The Food Emporium, Pathmark, Superfresh and Waldbaum's names.

Founded in 1859, Montvale-based A&P was once the nation's largest grocer.

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