PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A big shake-up is headed for grocery shoppers as Kroger – the company in charge of Oregon’s Fred Meyer and QFC stores – and Albertsons announced their plan to possibly sell hundreds of grocery stores both locally and around the country.
The potential sales are part of a deal to decrease the amount of stores in order to get government approval for a merger between the companies. The grocery chains say it’s an effort to compete with Walmart, Amazon and other major companies.
Kroger and Albertsons agreed to merge in October. However, the move will require federal approval, meaning the closures could take months. Officials say a decision may not be made until 2024.
If accepted, Kroger could sell 49 Fred Meyer, Albertsons and QFC stores in Oregon to C&S, an out-of-state company which supplies independent grocers and military bases. C&S also owns some of its own stores, including a warehouse in Troutdale.
Doing so will help them manage prices, according to Russell Redman, the executive editor for Winsight Grocery Business Magazine and a grocery business analyst covering the merger.
“They’ll be able to do more investment in their stores and create better shopping experience with cost savings from larger scale and better able to compete with large companies like Walmart and Amazon,” Redman said.
It is not yet clear which locations would be affected, though it’s likely that some grocery stores may keep the same name. The fuel centers and pharmacies associated with the chosen stores are also expected to continue to operate.
In Washington state, a total of 104 stores are affected. Currently there are 8 Fred Meyer and QFC stores plus 14 Albertsons and Safeway stores. It’s not yet clear how many of those are in the Clark County/southwest Washington area.
As for union worker agreements, Kroger’s CEO says C&S will honor all collective bargaining agreements, which Oregon’s local UFCW union representative confirmed as well.
Tiffany Sanders, the corporate affairs manager for Fred Meyer and QFC, send KOIN 6 a statement regarding the plan:
Today, Kroger and Albertsons Companies announced a comprehensive divestiture plan with C&S Wholesale Grocers. We understand the plan will impact the Pacific Northwest which includes the sale of the QFC banner name and some QFC stores but does not include the sale of any Fred Meyer stores at this time. Because we are still in the regulatory process, we are not able to share the specific locations included in the agreement. We are confident C&S’s experienced, purpose-driven leadership team and more than 100-year history of food industry experience will enhance the competitive marketplace. Importantly, C&S agreed to honor all collective bargaining agreements, securing the future of good-paying union jobs and protecting associates’ industry-leading health care and pension benefits as well as bargained-for wages.
Stay with KOIN 6 as we receive more information.