There’s a surprise bidder in bankrupt grocery chain Haggen’s auction to shed most of the Albertsons stores it bought in its ill-fated expansion bid: Albertsons.

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There’s a surprise bidder in bankrupt grocery chain Haggen’s auction to shed most of the Albertsons stores it bought in its ill-fated expansion bid: Albertsons.

The grocery giant was required to sell 146 stores to Haggen last year before the Albertsons-Safeway merger was approved by federal regulators.

Now Albertsons is the “baseline bidder” for 36 of the 95 stores that Haggen is auctioning off starting Monday, according to bankruptcy-court documents filed Friday.

The stores on which Albertsons is bidding include locations in Shoreline, Federal Way, Everett, Monroe and two each in Burien and Renton. Six more are elsewhere in Western Washington.

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The remainder stretch from Ashland, Ore., to Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

Albertsons’ starting bid for Haggen’s Northeast Fourth Street Street location in Renton is $1.7 million, while its opening offer for the First Avenue South store in Burien is $1.

The papers filed in bankruptcy court in Delaware also show another 36 stores in California and Nevada will go to Gelsen’s and Smart & Final, the so-called “stalking horse” bidders who last month agreed to pay $96 million.

If Albertsons prevails in this week’s bidding, it would mark another chapter in the quick crumbling of the competitive structure the Federal Trade Commission engineered when it ordered Albertsons and Safeway to shed the stores before they could consummate their $9.4 billion deal.

Albertsons previously won the bankruptcy court’s OK to buy a handful of pharmacy operations at Haggen stores.

After Haggen filed for Chapter 11 protection in August, the FTC agreed to give Albertsons the ability to hire workers at the stores it sold to Haggen.

A document filed with the bankruptcy court Friday lists a baseline or starting bid for most of the locations to be auctioned.

Albertsons is among 40 bidders who qualified to participate, the papers say. Others include Sprouts Farmers Market, a Phoenix-based specialty-grocery chain that is the baseline bidder for four California and Nevada stores, and Smart & Final, which is bidding for four stores beyond the 28 it’s getting in the “stalking horse” package.

Haggen noted that for some locations on which it received no qualified bid, it has set its own baseline bid “to promote a spirited and robust auction and to expedite the auction.”