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14 Alaska stores could be sold in proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger deal | Local News

Fourteen Albertsons-owned stores in Alaska would be sold off, along with nearly more than 400 stores nationwide to C&S Wholesale Grocers, if a merger acquisition between Kroger and Albertsons goes through, the two companies announced Friday.

In a news release, the two supermarket giants plan to sell 413 stores in 17 states and Washington, D.C. for $1.9 million in order to complete a $24.6 billion merger announced in October 2022. Which Albertsons’ Safeway locations, including Alaska’s CARRS stores, were not disclosed in the news release. Albertsons has 35 Carrs Safeways in Alaska, while Kroger operates 12 Fred Meyers.

Fairbanks is home to two Safeway stores, while North Pole has one.

C&S Wholesale Grocers owns and operates more than 7,500 supermarkets retail supermarkets and stores on military bases, including Grand Union grocery stores and Piggly Wiggly franchises in the Midwest and Carolinas.

Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of The Kroger Company, Fred Meyer’s parent company, said a sale to C&S achieves the objectives of “to identify a well-capitalized buyer who will operate as a fierce competitor and ensure divested stores and their associates will continue serving their communities in the ways they do today.”

McMullen praised C&S’s corporate and workplace cultures.

“We are confident the associates joining the C&S family will have an amazing opportunity to continue to build a thriving career in the food industry in one of the largest private companies in our country,” McMullen said.

Eric Winn, chief operating officer of C&S added in a statement that his company “looks forward to providing a superior shopping experience that delivers both quality and value to our customers.”

The stores sold to C&S would lose the Safeway or CARRS name, while the ones retained by Kroger would keep the Albertsons or Safeway banner.

According to Albertsons and Kroger, the fuel stations and pharmacies will stay with the stores sold in the process. The companies see the move as part of the merger acquisition process, which is currently being reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission.

The divestment of stores would “extend a competitor to new geographies through the sale of stores to a well-capitalized buyer that is led by seasoned operators with a strong balance sheet and a sound business plan.”

The news release also stated that the sale of stores ensures “no stores will close as a result of the merger” and would maintain current collective bargaining agreements.

Alex Baker, vice president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1496, the largest union representing food and commercial workers in Alaska, declined to comment on the merger, citing the need for more information on how the news will impact its members.

UFCW Local 1496 has been among those unions who have adamantly opposed the merger, which is expected to be completed in early 2024, pending final FTC approval.

Alaska labor unions, along with Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska), called on the Biden administration and the FTC to block the merger on Sept. 5.

The unions and Peltola noted that a merger of the two companies would drive up the cost of food, shut down stores over time, create food and pharmacy deserts in Alaska communities and potentially lead to massive lays.

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