Bankrupt Haggen Sells Stores To Albertson’s, Smart & Final

Albertson’s LLC has received bankruptcy court approval to acquire 30 former Haggen stores in California, Washington, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. In addition, Smart & Final Stores said that its subsidiary, Smart & Final Stores LLC, has won court approval to assume the leases and acquire certain associated assets of 32 closed Haggen stores in central and southern California.

The 30 stores Albertson’s LLC acquired were former Albertsons, Safeway or Vons stores that had been sold to Haggen earlier this year. Although no definitive timetable has been established, Albertsons stated that it expects to reopen the stores under its various operating banners in 2016.

“We are pleased to be returning to these locations and have the opportunity to create great jobs in these communities,” said Bob Miller, Albertsons chairman and CEO. “The process of re-opening these stores as Albertsons, Safeway and Vons locations will take some time for us to obtain the appropriate licenses, but we are confident that our operating playbook will help us create stores that customers will love to shop again.”

Smart & Final operates a warehouse-style store format featuring value-oriented food and everyday staples for household and business customers. The chain operates 270 stores. The company’s transaction for the Haggen assets is valued at a total cash purchase price of $68 million.

Smart & Final CEO, David Hirz, noted, “We’re excited about the opportunity to build upon our footprint in the important California market. This strategic acquisition puts us ahead in ‘Project 100,’ our plan to open 100 new stores, add 100 new teams and invest in 100 new neighborhood projects in the next four years. We continue to see significant room for growth within our existing markets. Through the acquisition of the Haggen stores, we will capture some of this opportunity. Our team looks forward to serving the communities of each new store.”

A year ago, AB Acquisition LLC, which operates Albertson, Acme, Amigos, Jewel-Osco, Shaws, Star Market, Super Saver and other supermarkets across the United States, and Safeway Inc., which operates Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb and Carrs supermarkets, had entered into agreements to sell 168 stores in eight states as part of their merger to four buyers. Haggen became the major purchaser. Controlled by private equity firm Comvest Partners, Haggen, which operated 18 namesake supermarkets and one other grocery operation in Washington and Oregon, purchased 146 stores across Washington, Oregon, Arizona, California and Nevada from AB Acquisition/Safeway. Unable to find its competitive footing in its expanded market area, Haggen filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September.

Besides Albertson’s buying stores back and Smart & Final gaining locations, other retailers acquiring Haggen-controlled supermarkets include Gelson’s, Stater Bros. and Sprouts. In filing for bankruptcy protection, Haggen said it would rebuild operations around 37 core stores and one stand-alone pharmacy in the Pacific Northwest and sell other supermarkets, mainly in the Southwest.