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Albertsons plans to sell 10 stores in Idaho as part of a merger. Is your store on the list?
Albertsons plans to sell 10 stores in Idaho as part of a merger. Is your store on the list?

POCATELLO (Idaho Statesman) — Kroger and Albertsons have released a list of all the stores they would sell to another company if federal regulators approve their merger plan. The list includes 10 Albertsons stores in Idaho, six of which are in Boise – the city where the grocery chain was founded 85 years ago. One is in eastern Idaho.

Cincinnati-based Kroger, which operates the Fred Meyer chain in the Northwest, is trying to acquire Albertsons, the Boise-based chain founded by Joe Albertson in 1939. The companies say the merger will help them compete more effectively in the changing grocery market, where they face competition from Walmart, Amazon, Boise-based WinCo Foods and other stores.

The merger is in trouble because the Federal Trade Commission and several state attorneys general (but not Idaho’s) have filed suit to block it, citing antitrust concerns. The FTC’s case is currently being heard in federal court.

If the companies win the battle, they would sell the 10 Albertsons stores in Idaho and 569 other stores under various names to C&S Wholesale Grocers LLC, a little-known company that has so far operated primarily as a wholesaler.

RELATED | Kroger and Albertsons – still hoping for a merger – agree to sell more stores to satisfy regulators

THE LIST OF IDAHO STORES

These are the Idaho stores scheduled to switch to C&S, sorted by city:

Boise

  • 10500 West Overland Road
  • 5100. West Overland Road
  • 909 East Park Center Boulevard
  • 4700 North Eagle Road
  • 6560 South Federal Way
  • 3614 West State Street

meridian

Nampa

Pocatello

Twin Falls

RELATED TOPICS | Why does the U.S. government think a Kroger-Albertsons merger would be bad for grocery shoppers?

It was not immediately known why these 10 stores were chosen, nor what names the Idaho stores would receive. Kroger’s contract gives C&S licensing rights for Albertsons-branded stores in California and Wyoming, but not in Idaho. C&S operates two grocery chains: Piggly Wiggly in the South, Midwest and Northeast, and Grand Union in New York and Vermont.

An email from the Statesman to Albertsons seeking further details was not immediately returned Tuesday, and calls to the company’s press hotline were not connected.

Kroger and Albertsons had originally announced plans to sell 13 Albertsons stores in Idaho, but reduced that number to 10 in April.

Among the stores not on the divestiture list released Tuesday is the store at the corner of 16th and State Streets in downtown Boise, where company founder Joe Albertson’s first store was located in 1939.

RELATED TOPICS | US sues merger of grocery giants Kroger and Albertsons as it could lead to higher prices

Companies promise: No plant closures, no job losses on the front line

The companies have promised regulators, employees and the public that none of the divested stores will be closed, no “production worker” will lose their jobs, all collective bargaining agreements will be respected and all divested stores will continue to benefit from the investments made as a result of the merger.

They also promised lower prices.

The Federal Trade Commission does not believe this last promise. The agency filed suit in February. The Idaho Statesman reported at the time that the FTC said the acquisition by Kroger, the largest proposed supermarket merger in U.S. history, would “eliminate” the “fierce competition” between the two grocery giants and lead to higher prices for consumers.

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

A local union that says it represents about 25,000 workers at Kroger and Albertsons, including 265 in northern Idaho, said the release of the store list “changes nothing.”

“We remain focused on stopping the proposed mega-merger for the same reasons we have cited since it was first announced over 20 months ago – because we know it would hurt workers, it would hurt shoppers, it would hurt suppliers and the community, and because it is illegal,” the United Food and Commercial Workers 3000 union said in an email.

But a UFCW local that represents some Albertsons workers in other parts of Idaho supports the merger. UFCW Local 555 said in February that its leadership was impressed with C&S’s management.

A MAJOR EMPLOYER IN IDAHO

The divestiture of these stores would reduce Albertsons’ presence in Idaho to 27 stores, a distribution center in Meridian and the remainder of the corporate headquarters in Boise.

Albertsons is Idaho’s fourth-largest employer, employing more than 5,000 people in the state, according to the Idaho Department of Labor. With 285,000 employees, it is the largest employer of any Idaho company nationwide.

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

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