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Three area Friendly's locations among those in latest round of closings.

Byline: Noah R. Bombard

On the heels of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Friendly's shuttered 37 more stores Sunday, adding to the list of closings since it began its reorganization efforts last October. Three of the stores were in Central Massachusetts.

Friendly's restaurants at Tatnuck Square in Worcester, White City Shopping Plaza in Shrewsbury and 303 Turnpike Road in Westboro were added to the 63 stores closed in October. According to Friendly's spokeswoman Lynn Bolton, approximately 740 people companywide lost their jobs in Sunday's closings.

The company announced yesterday that it has emerged from it's voluntary bankruptcy filing following the financial and operational restructuring and the sale of the company from Friendly's Ice Cream Corporation to Friendly's Ice Cream, LLC.

The 63 restaurants closed in October were deemed "underperforming" by the company. According to Friendly's spokeswoman Maura Tobias, the company has been working since then to renegotiate lease agreements for locations where the company felt the rents did not reflect market conditions.

"Unfortunately, we were unable to reach an acceptable agreement for some restaurants," Tobias said in a press release. The total number of the Wilbraham-based chain's restaurants now stands at 387. At one time Friendly's had about 850 restaurants. The company first downsized in 2000, three years after it went public on the New York Stock Exchange.
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Title Annotation:BUSINESS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jan 10, 2012
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