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Haggen said today that it has begun the process of acquiring the146 stores that were divested as a result of the Federal Trade Commission's review of the Albertsons-Safeway merger. The Northwest grocer will take ownership of its first location -- a former Albertsons store in Monroe, Wash. -- on Thursday.
As Progressive Grocer previously reported, the acquisition will facilitate Haggen's expansion from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies; from 2,000 to more than 10,000 employees; and from a small ompany with locations in Oregon and Washington to a major regional grocery chain with locations in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona.
“This momentous acquisition is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rapidly expand the Haggen brand across the West Coast,” said John Caple, chairman of the Haggen board of directors and partner at Comvest Partners, a private investment firm that owns the majority share of Haggen. “Now that the deal has closed, our team is focused on seamlessly converting these 146 stores to the Haggen brand over the next five months.”
Haggen's Pacific Northwest CEO John Clougher and Pacific Southwest CEO Bill Shaner outlined plans to convert the stores, the divestitures of which must be completed within 120 days from the purchase of the first store, according to the settlement.
Between one and 12 stores will be converted each week; the timeline is as follows:
- The first conversion begins on Thursday at the former Albertsons in Monroe
- Another 18 stores in Washington will be converted during February and March
- Conversion of the final seven Washington stores is scheduled for June
- The 83 stores in California will be converted from March to May
- The 20 Oregon stores will transfer to the Haggen brand throughout the months of March, April and May
- The Nevada and Arizona stores will convert in the late spring
Each Haggen location will offer a core assortment of products to its shoppers, as well as a variety of locally relevant items. “Haggen is still small enough to be very nimble and responsive to each store's customers," said Shaner. "What you find in a Bellingham store will differ from what you’ll find in a store in San Diego. Being locally focused is a core value of Haggen."
Unified Grocers has been named primary supplier in the Pacific Southwest region and a secondary supplier in the Northwest; Supervalu will be the primary supplier for the Pacific Northwest region. Charlie's Produce will be the primary and preferred supplier for produce for all Haggen stores.
Additionally, Haggen will continue operating the 78 Starbucks stores located in the grocer's acquired properties; cafes will be added to other locations as well.
As the stores rollout their transformations, each store's associates will be invited to become Haggen employees, which, as Shaner confirmed, "was an essential part of the acquisition," adding that "these are great teams and these new employees will be an incredible asset to our growing company."