Kroger and Albertsons to Sell Hundreds of Stores

( – A big shake-up is on the way in the grocery store market. Kroger and Albertsons are planning a merger. As part of that, to get around competition worries, the chains plan to sell hundreds of stores to another company. Now they’ve upped the number that will be sold.

In September 2023, Kroger and Albertsons, which own 4,940 stores between them, announced a merger plan. The size of their combined operation quickly attracted the attention of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), though. To allay fears about reducing competition, the companies proposed selling 413 of their stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers which has been acquiring retail locations since 2001.

Unfortunately for the merger plan, their proposed sell-off didn’t go far enough. In February, the FTC, Washington, DC, and eight states filed a lawsuit, claiming the merger would push up grocery prices and depress staff wages. In an attempt to head off the legal action, Kroger and Albertsons now say they’ll sell another 166 stores, making a total of 579.

The biggest changes in the new plan will be in Arizona, one of the states that opposes the merger. Seventy-seven of the extra stores to be sold are in Arizona, on top of 24 previously identified for sale.

Overall, the most affected location is Washington, DC, which would see 124 stores transferred to C&S. Stores would also be sold in California, Colorado, and Oregon. The companies say C&S will have a better chance at competing in those states thanks to the extra stores they’d get under the new plan.

Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen dismissed claims the merger would mean higher prices and lower wages. In fact, he said, prices will go down and there will be more choice. He also promised the move would protect unionized jobs across the stores. Under the proposed deal, C&S will pay around $2.9 million for the stores.

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