Haggen Food & Pharmacy sues Albertsons for $1 billion lawsuit, accusing sabotage in store conversions.
The lawsuit alleges retail giant of deliberately sabotaging Haggen during the largest government-imposed grocery-store sale in U.S. history.
The complaint was filed Tuesday in a federal court in Delaware. The lawsuit alleges that bad-faith actions were part of an effort by Albertsons, newly merged with Safeway, to form monopolies in more than 100 markets along the West Coast, which the Federal Trade Commission had originally sought to prevent by requiring the sale of 146 stores to Haggen,
The lawsuit detail, says Alberstons provided Haggen with false retail pricing data, causing Haggen to unknowingly inflate prices; cutting off Haggen-acquired store advertising; and timing the remodeling of its retained stores to interfere with Haggen’s entry to the marketplace, according to Oregon Live report.
Haggen said Albertsons started engaging in these competitive efforts after it sold 146 grocery stores to Haggen. Albertsons and Safeway were forced by the Federal Trade Commission to sell the stores as part of a merger. Among the stores are 83 in California, mostly in the south.
It contends Albertsons participated in “coordinated and systematic efforts to eliminate competition” and “made false representations to both Haggen and the FTC about Albertsons’ commitment to a seamless transformation of the stores into viable competitors under the Haggen banner.”
“Haggen never intended to close any of the Stores it acquired,” the lawsuit states. “To the contrary, Haggen saw these Stores as an exciting opportunity to transform itself into a super-regional grocer with a presence up and down the west coast.”
After Haggen filed the 55-page lawsuit, Albertsons released a one-sentence statement: “The allegations in the complaint are completely without merit,” said spokesman Brian Dowling.
Albertsons said the lawsuit’s allegations “are completely without merit.”
The relationship between the two companies was already spoiling before Haggen Food & Pharmacy sues Albertsons, LA Times reported.
Haggen Food & Pharmacy is the largest independent grocery retailer in the Pacific Northwest. The Store was first called the Economy Food Store.
As of June 2015, Haggen operates 164 stores throughout Washington, Oregon, southern California, Nevada and Arizona. From 1982 through 2014, Haggen also operated a subsidiary brand of groceries called Top Food & Drug.