Map shows 579 Safeway, Albertsons, other grocery stores to be sold to C&S

Kroger and Albertsons reveal plans to divest nearly 600 stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers to address antitrust concerns ahead of their $24.6B merger - ConsumerAffairs

What will become of these locations? Mum’s the word for now.

In a move to address antitrust concerns surrounding their proposed $24.6 billion merger, Kroger and Albertsons have disclosed a list of stores they would sell to C&S Wholesale Grocers. The transparency comes just ahead of a critical court hearing scheduled for the merger the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is challenging.

The deal involves 579 stores across 18 states and Washington, D.C. and a mix of brands, including Safeway, Albertsons, QFC, Vons and 11 other grocers, according to a ConsumerAffairs analysis of the disclosure

The states hardest hit are Washington with 124 stores, Arizona with 101, Colorado with 91, California with 63, Oregon with 62, Illinois with 35, Texas with 28, Nevada with 16 and Alaska with 18. Many proposed sales are concentrated in the Seattle area, Denver area and Southern California.

Among the brands, Safeway ranks highest with 49% of the total, followed by Albertsons 17% and QFC with 9.3%. Less-impacted brands include Pavillions, Tom Thumb, Haggen and Carrs.

How will the stores change?

What happens to all these stores? No one is saying. The only thing that’s clear is that they would be operated by C&S who could turn them into any brand or type of store they wish. C&S could always license the brand names of the stores they're acquiring, but that would only add to their operating expenses.

If what C&S currently operates is a clue, then the stores could become Piggly Wiggly or Grand Union supermarkets – two brands that C&S owns. 

Whatever happens would no longer be Albertson's or Kroger's business, but the C&S sale could help the merger go through. One analyst thinks the merger would be good for shoppers.

"Consequently, Kroger touts the proposed combination of the two companies as a means to provide a scale advantage that would result in lower costs for consumers. The FTC claims the opposite is true," SeekingAlpha's Chuck Watson said.

"The merger would also add 31 million members of Albertsons' loyalty member program to Kroger’s brand, and the increased scale would provide bargaining power with suppliers and advertisers, while improving logistics costs."

Below, you can search if your local grocery store is caught up in the planned merger.

Dieter Holger contributed analysis and graphics to this article.

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