MONTVALE, New Jersey (


) --

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea


, the grocery chain better known as A&P, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday.

It listed debts of more than $3.2 billion and assets of about $2.5 billion in a petition the company filed in bankruptcy court in White Plains, N.Y.

A&P was once the country's largest grocery company. It now operates just 400 stores under the A&P, Walbaum's and Pathmark names in the Northeast.

A&P said it has secured $800 million in debtor-in-possession financing through

JPMorgan Chase

to allow it to keep operating while in bankruptcy.

A&P shares tumbled Friday

by more than 67% to 93 cents before being halted in the afternoon on rumors of the possible bankruptcy filing.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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Joseph Woelfel

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