A Delaware bankruptcy judge has approved Albertsons’ bid to take over what’s left of Haggen. Of the 29 so-called “core” stores in Washington and Oregon that are going into Albertsons’ hands, 15 in Washington will still carry the Haggen banner.
A bankruptcy judge in Delaware has greenlighted Albertsons’ bid to take over what’s left of Haggen, bringing a supermarket saga of bold ambition and rapid failure to an end.
The $106 million deal, announced earlier this month, also brings an eight-decade-old Bellingham institution into the bosom of one of America’s largest grocers.
The Haggen brand will live on, however. Of the 29 so-called “core” stores in Washington and Oregon that are going into Albertsons’ hands, 15 in Washington will still carry the Haggen banner. These stores will continue to be run from Bellingham, focusing on organic and local products.
Albertsons has bought Haggen’s final stronghold of 29 “core” stores in the Pacific Northwest, but the brand will live on in 15 of these locations in Washington state.
Washington stores that will be operated as Haggen:
• 2814 Meridian, Bellingham
• 757 Haggen Drive, Burlington
• 1406 Lake Tapps Pkwy., Auburn
• 1401 12th St., Bellingham
• 1313 Cooper Point Road S.W., Olympia
• 210 36th St., Bellingham
• 2900 Woburn St., Bellingham
• 26603 72nd Ave. N.W., Stanwood
• 1301 Avenue D, Snohomish
• 1815 Main St., Ferndale
• 17641 Garden Way N.E., Woodinville
• 2601 E. Division, Mount Vernon
• 8915 Market Place N.E., Lake Stevens
• 3711 88th St. N.E., Marysville
• 31565 Sr 20 #1, Oak Harbor
Stores that will be rebranded as Albertsons in Washington and Oregon:
• 8611 Steilacoom Blvd. S.W., Tacoma
• 1128 N. Miller, Wenatchee
• 450 N. Wilbur Ave., Walla Walla
• 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Seattle
• 3520 Pacific Ave. S.E., Olympia
• 3925 236th Ave. N.E., Redmond
• 17520 SR 9 Southeast, Snohomish
• 1800 N.E. Third St., Bend, Ore.
• 1675 W. 18th Ave., Eugene, Ore.
• 16199 Boones Ferry Road, Lake Oswego, Ore.
• 1690 Allen Creek Road, Grants Pass, Ore.
• 61155 S Hwy 97, Bend, Ore.
• 14300 S.W. Barrows Road, Tigard, Ore.
• 3075 Hilyard St., Eugene, Ore.
The rest, mostly former Albertsons or Safeway stores, will melt back into the larger Albertsons identity.
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Albertsons said in a statement that it was “pleased that the bankruptcy court has granted approval,” and said it expects the transaction to close in the next several weeks.
The deal, which extends offers of employment to basically all Haggen workers at the stores being acquired, comes with the blessing of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).
“With the sale of these 29 stores to Albertsons, we are optimistic that everyone who works within them will finally be able to have the certainty and stability that they deserve,” UFCW said in a statement.
Haggen, a one-time family-owned grocer that in 2011 came under control of Comvest, a Florida private equity firm, saw a big opportunity for expansion when Albertsons decided to merge with Safeway. Those two companies had to shed dozens of stores if they were to see their consolidation approved by antitrust regulators.
In a late 2014 deal backed by the Federal Trade Commission, Haggen bought 146 locations, most in the unfamiliar and ultracompetitive markets of Southern California, Arizona and Nevada.
To pay for the $300 million deal and put in an additional $100 million to pay for the conversion, Comvest used a move from the old private equity playbook, raising most of the money from the sale of the real estate underlying many of the stores.
But very soon it became clear that Haggen had bitten off more than it could chew. Customers began to complain about high prices in old Albertsons and Safeway stores newly converted to Haggen, and sales dropped.
In July, layoffs began, as did lawsuits between Haggen and Albertsons. In August, Haggen announced it was shedding a first wave of stores, and in September it filed for bankruptcy and announced plans for a major retreat into its native Pacific Northwest.
The impact was felt even in stores that were part of Haggen’s original footprint.
“When they bought all the other stores, it seemed as if they made the whole company explode,” says Aron Redifer, who worked at Haggen’s Top Foods store in Aberdeen, a location that closed last year. News coverage of the debacle “was brought up several times on a daily basis by our customers,” he said.
Haggen’s demise as an independent company also marks the failure of the Federal Trade Commission’s desire to check the power of the Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons with the emergence of a strong regional competitor.
The opposite happened: Albertsons became stronger, ultimately taking over Haggen itself.
The FTC declined to comment on Tuesday.