As expected, Vitamin World filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors, identifying its Connecticut Post mall store in Milford as a candidate for closure, and with the retailer having additional locations at the Danbury Fair and Westfield Trumbull malls.

In a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, Holbrook, N.Y.-based Vitamin World blamed underperforming stores, above-market rents and unspecified disruptions in its base of suppliers, with Reuters having reported last week the likelihood of a bankruptcy as a way to get out of leases on unprofitable stores.

Vitamin World lists as its largest unsecured creditor The Nature’s Bounty Co., owed $21.5 million, with the Bohemia, N.Y.-based seller of varying health and nutrition supplements owned by The Carlyle Group. Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle sold Vitamin World in February 2016 for $25 million to Centre Lane Partners, a private equity investment firm with its offices in New York City.

Over 12 months through September 2015 — the last fiscal year for which its results were made public — Vitamin World lost $126.5 million as sales dropped 8 percent to $208 million, with the retailer attributing its waning performance to declines in mall traffic and sales of weight-loss products.

Founded in 1976 as a kiosk in Williamsville, N.Y., the company would expand to more than 400 stores in the United States and its territories, before beginning cost cuts that have left it with about 345 today.

Vitamin World would require court permission to exit leases in advance of their scheduled terms. The company also requested court authorization to continue paying employees and vendors, and to honor existing gift cards outstanding that had unredeemed balances of about $275,000 as of July.

The market research firm TABS Analytics estimates that specialty stores selling vitamins, minerals and supplements registered a 2 percent increase in revenue last year to $3 billion, half the rate of increase of mass retailers like Walmart and CVS, and well behind the 20 percent gain logged last year by websites like Amazon. Combined, retailers generated $13.5 billion in sales last year.

Vitamin World is not the only retailer that is eyeing its real estate obligations and expenses — in the second quarter, GNC revenue was down 5 percent to $641 million, with the Pittsburgh, Pa.-based giant closing 75 stores in the first half of 2017 and eyeing anywhere from 125 to 175 more through December. On Monday, GNC installed as its new CEO Kevin Martindale, who previously led Rite Aid.

“We are ... being very opportunistic in evaluating our leases as they come up for renewals, and evaluating our ability to transfer sales to neighboring stores,” said Tricia Tolivar, chief financial officer of GNC, in a July conference call. “We are seeing positive experience in discussions with our landlords — the real estate team is doing a good job there.”

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman