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Kroger/Albertsons to Sell 413 Stores

Offloading locales to C&S designed to move merger ahead.

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PHOTOGRAPHY: jetcityimage, iStock

The Kroger Co. (Cincinnati) and Albertsons Cos. Inc. (Boise, Id.) have entered a definitive agreement to sell 413 stores and several related operations to C&S Wholesale Grocers LLC (Keene, N.H.). The two selling grocers say the spinoff of the stores is a major step toward completing their merger, plans for which were unveiled last October.

“Following the announcement of our proposed merger with Albertsons Cos., we embarked on a robust and thoughtful process to identify a well-capitalized buyer who will operate as a fierce competitor and ensure divested stores and their associates will continue serving their communities in the ways they do today. C&S achieves all these objectives,” said Rodney McMullen, Chairman and CEO of Kroger, which operates more than 2700 stores. (Albertsons operates nearly 2300). “C&S is led by an experienced management team with an extensive background in food retail and distribution and has the financial strength to continue investing in associates and the business for the long run. Importantly in our agreement, C&S commits to honoring all collective bargaining agreements which include industry-leading benefits, retaining frontline associates and further investing for growth.”

Said Eric Winn, COO and designated CEO (effective Oct. 2) of C&S Wholesale Grocers: “Today’s announcement is another exciting opportunity for C&S to further expand into the retail market, which is an important component of our growth and future success.”

Mainly a wholesaler to 7500 independent groceries, C&S also operates roughly 640 stores under the Piggly Wiggly and Grand Union flags. Under the terms of the deal with Kroger/Albertsons, C&S could acquire 237 more stores from Kroger.

Though the companies involved in the offloading did not release a sale price, several publications reported that sources close to the deal place it at roughly $2 billion. Albertsons and Kroger say the merger is still on track for completion early next year.

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