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BOISE, Idaho -- In an ironic twist in the ongoing battle of which retailer owns the Lucky Stores banner, Albertsons here had the tables turned against it Tuesday when judge Geffrey White of the 9th Federal Circuit Court -- the same judge who denied Albertsons' restraining order against rival Grocery Outlet last month -- allowed Grocery Outlet's restraining order against the Boise retailer's opening five Lucky-branded stores yesterday.
"We learned last week that Albertsons was planning to open (or re-open) as Lucky some stores in California andor Nevada," Jon Wylie, Grocery Outlet's v.p. of marketing told Progressive Grocer. "Naturally, we were dumfounded that Albertsons would ignore the spirit of the court's admonition last month to maintain the status quo until the matter was resolved at a hearing on June 30th, the postponed date that it had requested."
White ruled that the Albertsons' opening of stores under the Lucky brand could cause confusion and irreparable harm to Grocery Outlet if the decision on June 30th is in its favor.
"Clearly this action was a unilateral attempt to change the status quo," said Wylie. "We have been willing to abide by the spirit of a 'status quo' position, awaiting the hearing next month. While we have announced plans for two more Lucky stores, we have not set any firm conversion/opening dates. While we didn't want to take the above legal action against ABS, we felt we had no choice. In our opinion, Grocery Outlet now owns a valuable brand, and we must protect it."
-- Joseph Tarnowski