Albertsons in Port Angeles to be purchased by Haggen

PORT ANGELES — The Albertsons store in Port Angeles will be purchased by Bellingham-based Haggen, it was announced today.

The plan is to convert it to the Haggen Northwest Fresh banner sometime during the next six months, if the deal is approved by the Federal Trade Commission, according to a news release from Haggen.

Haggen will buy 146 Safeway and Albertsons stores in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona, ballooning from a small chain with 18 stores, 16 pharmacies and 2,000 employees to one with 164 stores, 106 pharmacies and more than 10,000 employees.

The deal is expected to close early next year. No changes are expected at the stores until then.

Although Safeway has two stores in Port Angeles and one each in Sequim and Port Townsend, none of the Safeways on the North Olympic Peninsula are included in the deal, according to a Safeway divestiture list.

The only Albertsons store in Clallam and Jefferson counties is in Port Angeles.

Haggen spokeswoman Deborah Pleva told The Oregonian of Portland, Ore., that all employees of the acquired stores will be given the chance to keep their jobs.

She told the newspaper that Haggen also plans to keep each store’s current management team.

Safeway and Albertsons are being forced by federal regulators to divest the stores in advance of their $9 billion merger, which was announced in March.

To get regulatory approval of the merger between Safeway and Albertsons, the two grocery chains have agreed to sell 168 stores to four buyers, if the federal agency approves.

Haggen is buying most of them. Associated Food Stores, Associated Wholesale Grocers and Supervalu are picking up the rest, none of which are on the Peninsula.

Haggen will take over 17 other Albertsons and eight Safeways in Washington state. Most of its stores will be in California, with several in Oregon and some in Arizona and Nevada.

Supervalu will buy two Albertsons in Washington state, in Everett and Woodinville.

Associated Food Stores and Associated Wholesale Grocers are taking over Albertsons and Safeways in Montana, Wyoming and Texas.

The expanded Haggen company will be led by CEOs John Clougher and Bill Shaner.

Clougher will have primary responsibility for the northern division of Washington and Oregon, while Shaner will lead the southern division of California, Nevada and Arizona.

“With this pivotal acquisition, we will have the opportunity to introduce many more customers to the Haggen experience,” said John Caple, chairman of the Haggen board of directors and partner at Comvest Partners, a private investment firm that owns the majority of shares of Haggen, in the news release.

“Our Pacific Northwest grocery store chain has been committed to local sourcing, investing in the communities we serve, and providing genuine service and homemade quality since it was founded in 1933.”

Clougher said that the acquired stores have been successful “thanks to the dedicated store teams.

“We want to retain these existing teams while allowing our growing company to build on their past successes.”

He said the Northwest Fresh concept, which is the centerpiece of the company’s present 18 stores, will be used only in the new stores in Washington and Oregon.

It also has been announced that Unified Grocers, Inc. will be the primary supplier for Haggen’s new stores in California, Nevada and Arizona and be a substantial supplier for the Washington and Oregon stores.

The agreement will represent about $750 million annually in new business for Unified, according to a company news release.

Supervalu announced that it will be one of its primary suppliers for 64 of the Washington and Oregon stores.

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