Haggens files $1 billion lawsuit against Albersons
September 1, 2015
By KAREN VELIE
Haggen, a Washington-based chain of grocery stores, filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking more than $1 billion in damages against Albertsons.
In Dec. 2014, Haggen bought 146 Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions and Safeway stores. Shortly after the purchase, many of the stores customers left after prices skyrocketed and previously stocked items were no longer available.
In August, Haggen announced plans to close 27 stores
According to the lawsuit, Albertsons provided Haggen with false, misleading and incomplete retail pricing data causing Haggen stores to unknowingly inflate prices. Haggen also accuses Albertsons of deliberately understocking certain items, overstocking perishable stock and cutting of advertising for the Haggen acquired stores.
“Albertsons sought out Haggen in order to convince the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that Haggen would be a new competitor in local markets, which enabled Albertsons to gain the FTC’s approval of a merger between Albertsons and Safeway,” the suit says.
Haggen contends Albertsons engaged in an illegal campaign against Haggen including “premeditated acts of unfair and anti-competitive conduct that were calculated to circumvent Albertsons obligations under federal antitrust laws, FTC orders, and contractual commitments to Haggen. all of which were intended to prevent and delay the successful entry of Haggen (or any other viable competitor) into local grocery markets that Albertsons now dominates.”
In June, Haggen laid off dozens of Central Coast workers while other employees were moved from full-time to part-time hours. Haggen addresses the layoffs in its lawsuit.
“Haggen has had to focus on strategies to recover from Albertsons’ wrongful acts, which include, sadly, Haggen’s efforts to find new jobs for displaced employees who too are victims of Albertsons’ actions,” according to the suit
In July, Albertsons filed a suit alleging Haggen failed to pay for more than $36 million for merchandise that was included in the sale.