Haggen to close Port Angeles store, lay off 67 employees

Haggen Northwest Fresh at 114 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

Haggen Northwest Fresh at 114 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Haggen store will be closed, after the Bellingham-based grocery chain said it is selling most of its other stores to Albertsons and closing the others.

Haggen will lay off all 67 employees of the store at 114 E. Lauridsen Blvd., on May 10, it said in a document filed with the state.

Haggen said store closures are expected to occur within the next 60 days, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Darrell Chard, manager of the Haggen Grocery & Pharmacy in Port Angeles, said employees were informed of the layoffs today. He did not know when the store would close.

Bellingham-based Haggen said today that it has accepted a bid from Albertsons to buy 29 of its 32 core stores, according to the Journal.

Albertsons will buy the stores for $106 million and the remaining stores — in Oregon City, Puyallup and Port Angeles — will be closed.

The sale agreement will have to be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which is overseeing Haggen’s Chapter 11 reorganization plan filed in September 2015.

The court will hear the motion March 29, the Journal said.

This means that an auction of Haggen’s 33 core stores scheduled March 18 after having been postponed four times, is canceled.

The Journal reported that Haggen also will ask for approval to begin closeout sales for its stores not included in the agreement.

Earlier, Haggen had announced that the Port Angeles store was among its core stores that would be sold. The store is the only Haggen on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Calls to Haggen corporate representatives and to United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, the union representing the Port Angeles employees, were not immediately returned.

The Port Angeles grocery store operated as part of the Albertsons chain until it was purchased by Haggen in late 2014. The Haggen banner went up in February 2015.

In March 2014, it was announced that Safeway had agreed to be acquired by an investment group led by Cerberus Capital Management, the owner of several supermarket chains, including Albertsons.

Haggen bought 146 stores during the merger of Albertsons and Safeway. The move was ordered by federal regulators to avoid a monopoly.

The company struggled to convert those stores before filing for bankruptcy protection. It has been auctioning stores since.

Haggen today filed a state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) regarding its layoff intentions.

In addition to the Port Angeles layoffs, Haggen will release 78 employees at its Puyallup store, 71 in Federal Way and 54 in Burien, according to the WARN document.

According to The Oregonian, Haggen also plans to close stores in Happy Valley and West Linn in Oregon.

All employees of the non-acquired stores will receive notice of the pending store closures, which are expected to occur within the next 60 days, Haggen said in a statement.

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Assistant Managing Editor Mark Swanson can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55450, or mswanson@peninsuladailynews.com.

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