Twelve New Mexico Albertsons could soon have new ownership.
As part of the proposed $24.6 billion merger between Kroger and Albertsons, the companies said Friday they plan to sell 413 stores nationwide to C&S Wholesale Grocers, which owns the Piggly Wiggly and Grand Union supermarkets. The transaction includes 12 Albertsons stores in New Mexico, the companies said.
Additionally, C&S plans to buy eight distribution centers, two offices and five private label brands across 17 states and the District of Columbia from Kroger and Albertsons.
It isn’t yet clear which Albertsons stores in New Mexico would be sold and if the sale of those supermarkets would affect storefront names.
Albertsons operates six Albertsons stores and 23 Albertsons Market locations under its wholly-owned subsidiary United Supermarkets in New Mexico. Smith’s, owned by Kroger, has 24 stores — 14 in Albuquerque — in the state and employs more than 2,500 associates.
A spokesperson for Kroger, who replied to an email sent to Albertsons, told the Journal because the sale of the stores is still under regulatory review, “We are not in a position at this time to share the specific locations that will be divested to continue serving the community under a different owner.”
The spokesperson said the companies “anticipate being able to share these details closer to closing” of the sale with C&S, which is expected to happen shortly after the merger of Kroger and Albertsons is complete in early 2024.
A separate Kroger spokesperson told the Journal on Friday that the sale “does not include… any Smith’s stores at this time,” adding that the company is confident “C&S’s experienced, purpose-driven leadership team and more than 100-year history of food industry experience will enhance the competitive marketplace.”
C&S in its acquisition of stores will also acquire the QFC, Mariano’s and Carrs brand names — and the licensing rights to the Albertsons brand in California, Colorado, Wyoming and Arizona, though not in New Mexico.
The announced sale of Albertsons and Kroger supermarkets will cost $1.9 billion for C&S, which will pay the companies in an all-cash consideration including customary adjustments.
The merger between Albertsons and Kroger has garnered some local criticism.
New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver in August signed a letter with six other secretaries of state, urging regulators to reject the deal. In the letter, they said the merger would eliminate choice for consumers and have implications for local farmers, small businesses and suppliers “that rely on a competitive grocery market.”