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Haggen Bankruptcy Opens Opportunities for Other Grocery Chains

By LA Times, Thursday, November 12, 2015

Haggen bankruptcy is a buying opportunity for Smart & Final, other grocers

The misfortunes of Haggen Inc. spell opportunity for several rival grocers.

Remnants of the Northwest chain, which underwent an ill-fated expansion this year, will be parceled out by a bankruptcy judge to bidders in the next few days.

The 18-store Haggen operation had bought and begun rebranding 146 Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions and Safeway locations, which regulators had ordered sold as part of the merger between Safeway and Albertsons. After failing to entice shoppers, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in September and closed all but 37 stores in Washington and Oregon.

Several supermarket chains have put in bids on the stores in California, Arizona and Nevada. They include high-end grocer Gelson’s, for eight stores, and Sprouts, for four locations, according to court documents. Even Albertsons has bid on 36 stores.

Not all Haggen shops have bidders, and some may eventually end up subdivided into smaller storefronts for other businesses.

Haggen’s retreat represents a prime chance for other grocers to expand in Southern California’s ultra-competitive supermarket industry, analysts said.

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