Kroger and Albertsons Companies Announce Divestiture Plan With C&S Wholesale Grocers Ahead of Proposed Merger; Rodney McMullen, Vivek Sankaran, and Eric Winn Detail
KEENE, NH & CINCINNATI AND BOISE, ID - Earlier this week, AndNowUKnow reported discussions of a potential divestiture of stores on behalf of Kroger and Albertsons to C&S Wholesale Grocers. Today, the three retailers have officially announced a $1.98 billion deal that includes the sale of more than 400 locations.
“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 Chief Executive Officer of The Kroger Co. “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.”
In addition to 413 stores, the deal includes eight distribution centers and two offices. According to a release, C&S will also acquire QFC, Mariano’s, and Carrs brand names and the exclusive licensing rights to the Albertsons brand name in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Wyoming.
C&S will add five private labels to its current brand portfolio. 1918 Winter Street Partners, an affiliate of C&S Wholesale Grocers, will operate these stores.
“I have long respected C&S and its leadership team,” said Vivek Sankaran, Chief Executive Officer of Albertsons Companies. “I am thrilled that C&S's outstanding capabilities and financial strength will ensure these divestiture stores can continue to grow and serve their communities as they do today. Most importantly, they have made a clear commitment to continuing to invest in and care for associates, including by honoring all collective bargaining agreements currently in place. I echo Rodney's confidence in the bright future ahead for the associates joining the C&S team.”
These stores will be supported by C&S’s best-in-class capabilities. The agreement is set to close in early 2024, subject to regulatory clearance and customary closing conditions. C&S will continue to recognize the union workforce and maintain all collective bargaining agreements and is committed to retaining frontline employees and further investing for growth.
“This is another exciting opportunity for C&S to expand into the retail market, which is an important component of our long-term growth. We have a strong foundation of retail experience with our Piggly Wiggly® franchise and corporate-owned stores in the Midwest and Carolinas and the reopening of our iconic Grand Union—totaling more than 160 retail locations—all of which demonstrate C&S’s ability to deliver solid retail performance,” said Eric Winn, Chief Operating Officer and designated Chief Executive Officer (effective October 2), C&S Wholesale Grocers. “This will also further enhance C&S’s ability to serve our customers, as we will be in a unique position as a leading wholesale supplier and retailer to help grow their business and continue our legacy of braggingly happy customers.”
Stick with AndNowUKnow for more details regarding the Kroger/Albertsons merger as it emerges.