Kroger and Albertsons plan to sell 91 Colorado stores if proposed merger happens

king soopers
Matt Bloom/CPR News
A Safeway worker gathers shopping carts outside of a store in Cañon City on March 22, 2023.

Kroger and Albertsons have released a list of 91 Colorado stores they will sell to C&S Wholesale Grocers if their proposed merger goes through. 

The two grocery chains previously identified 413 stores it planned to sell to seal the merger in April.

The updated list increases that number to 579 stores nationwide, including 91 in Colorado. The affected stores in Colorado include most of the state’s Safeway and Albertsons locations, as well as two distribution centers and a dairy farm.

Under the divestiture proposal, all 91 stores in Colorado would be sold to C&S Wholesale Grocers, which distributes products to grocery chains across the nation. C&S also owns and operates Piggly Wiggly, a grocery chain with locations in 18 states, mainly in the Southeast and the Midwest. 

Kroger and Albertsons said selling locations to C&S meets their promise of having no store closures or layoffs. 

“C&S commits that: No stores will close as a result of the merger and that all frontline associates will remain employed,” the divestiture plan’s website said.

The proposed merger still faces significant hurdles

Legal challenges to halt the proposed $25 billion merger are due in court next month. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued in February to block the merger, arguing that lack of competition would be bad for shoppers and workers. The FTC initially argued that C&S wouldn’t be a viable competitor at its current size, leading Kroger and Albertsons to include more stores in their divestiture plan. 

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser also sued to block the merger after a year-long investigation including 19 town hall meetings across the state. Weiser’s lawsuit alleged that the merger would hurt smaller communities and create monopolized markets. 

Following the release of the new divestiture plan, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7, which represents many Kroger workers in the state, reiterated its objections to the deal and to selling locations to C&S. 

“If successful, the merger would have devastating impacts across our country, as made evident by the hundreds of stores included on the divestiture list released today. We cannot entrust our grocery stores – which are integral to our communities and our workers – to the untested, inexperienced C&S Wholesale Grocers,” UFCW Local 7 President Kim Cordova said in a statement. 

As it stands, Kroger operates 148 King Soopers and City Market stores in Colorado and is the largest chain in the state. Albertsons has 105 Safeway and Albertsons stores and is the third largest grocery seller in the state, according to the attorney general’s office.