Gelson’s Markets, Smart & Final look to buy Haggen stores


Gelson’s Markets and Smart & Final have submitted bids to purchase a total of 36 soon-to-close Haggen grocery stores, including outlets in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties, Haggen officials announced on Oct. 5.

According to Haggen, Gelson’s is looking to purchase eight California stores — in Carlsbad, Del Mar, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, San Diego, Rancho Mirage, Santa Monica and Thousand Oaks.

Smart & Final has offered to purchase 28 Haggen outlets — 27 in California and one in Las Vegas.

The proposed sales are subject to approval by a bankruptcy court. Haggen officials said they are also requesting a hearing later this month to propose bidding procedures for other stores.

The company, which took over numerous Albertsons and Vons stores earlier this year but quickly ran into financial troubles, announced last month it will close all of its California stores, reducing its overall operation to 37 stores in the Pacific Northwest.

By acquiring stores that were divested by Albertsons and Safeway, the owner of Vons, Haggen expanded from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies and about 2,000 employees in the Pacific Northwest to 164 stores and 106 pharmacies employing more than 10,000 people in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona.

Many industry analysts at the time questioned if the grocer bit off more than it could chew with the sudden expansion.