Kroger and Albertsons, two of the largest grocery store chains in the United States, have announced plans to sell 14 Albertsons-owned stores in Alaska. This move is part of a $1.9 billion divestiture plan aimed at securing approval from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for their $24.6 billion merger.
The task of purchasing these stores will be taken up by C&S Wholesale Grocers, a New Hampshire-based grocery supplier and retailer. As the largest wholesale grocery supplier in the US, with a diverse clientele that includes over 7,500 stores and military bases, C&S seems well-equipped to handle this responsibility.
While specific details regarding the locations of the stores have not been disclosed, unions in Alaska are actively trying to identify which ones are included in the sale. The merger deal is expected to consolidate the two primary grocery stores in many parts of the state, raising concerns among Alaskans about potential store closures, increased food prices, and threats to the workforce.
In response to these concerns, Kroger and Albertsons have assured the public that no store closures will occur as a result of this sale. They have also stated that all frontline associates and collective bargaining agreements will remain intact.
Experts believe that the stores likely to be included in the sale are Carrs Safeway, which operates in close proximity to Fred Meyer stores. The impacts of this divestiture, particularly in Alaska, will be evaluated by the Federal Trade Commission.
Kroger and Albertsons have chosen C&S as the buyer, given their extensive experience as a grocery supplier and their status as a large, reputable company. The merger is expected to be finalized in early 2024, pending regulatory approval.
However, critics of the merger point to previous takeovers and divestitures that resulted in a reduced number of stores in Alaska. Consumer advocates and unions continue to oppose the merger, expressing concerns about the potential negative effects of corporate consolidation.
As both Kroger and Albertsons strive to appease regulators and secure approval for their merger, the fate of these 14 stores in Alaska hangs in the balance. Alaskans will be closely watching the developments to ensure that their interests and access to affordable groceries are protected.
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