Kroger and Albertsons
July 10, 2024, 4:56 a.m.
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Kroger and Albertsons Announce Store Divestitures in Merger Plan

Kroger and Albertsons have disclosed a list of stores they intend to divest if federal regulators approve their proposed merger. This list includes ten Albertsons stores in Idaho, six of which are located in Boise, the birthplace of the grocery chain established 85 years ago. Cincinnati-based Kroger, which operates the Fred Meyer chain in the Northwest, seeks to acquire Boise-based Albertsons, founded by Joe Albertson in 1939. The companies assert that this merger will enhance their competitive standing in the evolving grocery market, where they contend with Walmart, Amazon, Boise’s WinCo Foods, and other retailers.

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However, the merger faces significant obstacles, as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and several state attorneys general (excluding Idaho’s) have filed lawsuits to block it, citing antitrust concerns. The FTC’s case is currently progressing through federal court. Should the companies prevail, they plan to sell the ten Albertsons stores in Idaho, along with 569 other stores operating under various banners, to C&S Wholesale Grocers LLC, a company primarily known for its wholesale operations.

Idaho Stores to be Divested by Kroger and Albertsons

These are the Idaho stores slated for divestiture to C&S, listed by city:

Boise

10500 W. Overland Road
5100 W. Overland Road
909 E. Parkcenter Blvd.
4700 N. Eagle Road
6560 S. Federal Way
3614 W. State St.

Meridian

20 E. Fairview Ave.

Nampa

2400 12th Avenue Road

Pocatello

330 E. Benton St.

Twin Falls

1221 Addison Avenue E.

The rationale behind selecting these ten stores remains unclear, as does the branding they will receive. Kroger’s agreement grants C&S the licensing rights for Albertsons-brand stores in California and Wyoming, but not in Idaho. C&S currently operates two retail grocery chains: Piggly Wiggly in the South, Midwest, and Northeast, and Grand Union in New York and Vermont.

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Efforts to obtain further information from Albertsons have not been successful, with email and phone inquiries going unanswered. Initially, Kroger and Albertsons proposed selling 13 Idaho Albertsons stores but reduced this number to ten in April. Notably absent from the divestiture list is the downtown Boise store at 16th and State streets, the site of Joe Albertson’s original store in 1939.

Kroger and Albertsons Promise No Closures, No Job Losses

Kroger and Albertsons have assured regulators, employees, and the public that no divested stores will be closed, no "front-line" workers will lose their jobs, all collective bargaining agreements will be honored, and all divested stores will continue to receive investment resulting from the merger. They have also pledged to lower prices. Despite these assurances, the FTC remains skeptical, having filed a lawsuit in February. According to the Idaho Statesman, the FTC contends that Kroger’s acquisition, the largest proposed supermarket merger in U.S. history, would "eliminate fierce competition" between the two grocery giants and result in higher prices for consumers.

Nine states, including Oregon and Nevada, have joined the FTC’s lawsuit. Additionally, Washington state and Colorado have initiated their own lawsuits.

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Impact on Idaho Employment from Kroger and Albertsons Merger

If the divestitures proceed, Albertsons’ presence in Idaho would be reduced to 27 stores, a distribution center in Meridian, and whatever remains of its corporate headquarters in Boise. According to the Idaho Department of Labor, Albertsons is Idaho’s fourth-largest employer, with over 5,000 employees in the state. Nationally, it is the largest employer among Idaho-based companies, with a workforce of approximately 285,000.

C&S Wholesale Grocers is owned by New Hampshire billionaire Rick Cohen, who is the third generation of the Cohen family to lead the company, according to a biography on C&S’s website.

News Source:- idahostatesman.com



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