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Bertucci’s reportedly prepares a bankruptcy filing

The Italian chain is apparently looking for a buyer.

Bertucci’s, the Northborough, Mass.-based chain of Italian restaurants, is preparing to file for bankruptcy as early as next week, according to Bloomberg, citing multiple anonymous sources.

The report says that the 79-unit chain is lining up a buyer that would take over the chain after the bankruptcy process is complete.

Company officials did not return requests for comment Friday.

Bertucci’s sales and unit count have been in decline for years. According to data from Technomic's Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, the chain’s U.S. system sales have declined steadily, from $199 million in 2012 to $183 million last year.

Unit count, meanwhile, has declined from 93 locations to 79 over that same period.

Sales declined 2.7% last year, though unit volumes increased 2% to $2.3 million.

Bertucci’s, founded in 1981, operates a chain of full-service restaurants that average 6,200 square feet. Its menu features brick-oven pizza and a lengthy selection of Italian dishes. The chain’s locations are in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.

The company’s decline has come as consumers shift more spending toward limited-service chains and takeout options. The company started an Express Lunch program last year, guaranteeing that customers get their lunch orders within 15 minutes.

The private-equity group Levine Leichtman Capital Partners owns the company, which refinanced its debt in 2015.

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