Haggens files $1 billion lawsuit against Albersons

September 1, 2015


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.


If Haggens was so foolish they fell for Albertsons selling them high priced stores in the state with the highest rate of poverty, who thinks they could possibly win a billion dollar suit?

What a disaster of a company, both of them. You can also blame the FTC, but Haggens was just plain dumb.


A couple of days ago I went to the Haggen on Foothill for the first time since the switch. It was mostly empty. The prices didn’t seem to be significantly higher on the things that I buy regularly. Maybe they’ve fixed the pricing.

You can thank the FTC for forcing the sale of the stores to Haggen. You know, you might have been price-gouged if they hadn’t forced the sale…


Prices have definitely gone down since the initial spike after the switchover…


As i said Haggens, the only asset you ever had, you fired first because they were “different”.

Now you can eat cake.


And so they can’t reduce their prices to be competitive in our marketplace? No prior research? I’m not buying this crock. My wife walked in there for a few things and was shocked at the gouging they’re putting on these innocent people.

And Von’s is just about as bad these days. Luckily was saw the light at Smart & Final and jumped out of that rat race of a store.


I’ve never visited a prison commissary but I suspect they are very similar to Smart & Final.


It’s more like a PX/BX than a prison commissary. Just remember that when you shop at Alberson/Von’s/Haggen that you are funding a pension for some overpaid desk jockey.


By your comment you have never been to S&F. Store is laid out fine. Prices are good. Not a fan of the older store in SLO but the Paso one is nice.


Oh but I have been to the S&F in Paso Robles. When Ralphs and then Scolari’s were located there, the entire building was the supermarket. Then S&F came in and part of the old store was split off and replaced by an auto parts store. From what I understand that area was used for store by Ralphs and Scolari’s. Without that storage space, S&F either uses store floor space for storage or has employees running around with pallets full of merchandise during regular business hours. I wouldn’t call that a “fine” layout.


First off S&F are smaller stores than your usual. Kind of like Trader Joes. There is one in Templeton in case you haven’t been.

As for moving stuff during store hours, I have been to Albertson’s and Vons and have had to maneuver around boxes, even in middle of the day.

Again your comparison needs help.


Thanks for the suggestion on my comparison, but I’ve been in all supermarkets in Paso Robles enough times to know that they don’t all operate like S&F. I’ve been in Albertsons when they’re moving pallets on weekends at 7:00 a.m. when the store is almost empty. I haven’t seen that happen at 5:30 p.m. on a weekday when it’s busy like I have at S&F. Nor have I had to ask Albertson employees who were standing around talking in front of a refrigerated case to move so I could grab an item. Your experience has been different from mine. It’s all a part of life’s rich pageant. Now I’m finished discussing grocery stores.


Exactly!! Just because one experiences something different doesn’t mean it isn’t happening at other times to other people.

So that brings it full circle what it is for me and most people I suppose. It isn’t about the experience so much as it is about pricing. Look at the majority of the comments.


I regularly shop at the S&F in AG.

The one gripe I have about AG: Their unfrozen poultry starts to reek after 2 days. They are courting an outbreak of salmonella.


You can smell old poultry a mile away.

Steer clear.


Smart and Final has the best prices in South County, and has almost all the items my family needs. I can get just about anything else at Trader Joes. I used to be an exclusive Vons shopper, but loyalty these days is gone.


“Can’t we all just get along?”


No. This is a message board. If we all got along it would be so boring most of us wouldn’t bother posting here.


I had a strong suspicion that the Albertsons “team” juiced the books and stock, heck, I imagine they had over-employed either with bodies or hours (or both) where they could (usually when a new manager was brought in, as the old ones would likely catch it).

Haggen does have some very nice products, and I hope their pricing and staffing start to work for them – for all of us.

Poor old Joe Albertson, he’s probably spinning in his grave at what has become of the company he started. They were so good to deal with (work for, work with, etc) back in the day before they bought American Stores, Inc. and went public. Now it’s just venture capital crap; of course, Haggen is, now, too. They all are, there’s no room for true family businesses anymore… I miss Spencer’s in SLO so damn much.


Albertson’s “juiced the books”?

What reference do you have to support that?


1 Billion Dollars Muwahahahah!


See the meat section for shark on sale this week with promotional laser beams.


I like Haggen because I can shop in peace. It’s worth paying a little more to avoid being rammed by carts at every corner and for empty checkout aisles. It’s an introvert’s paradise. I hope they don’t close my local store. Now leave me alone.


Well, you’re in luck!

Come to Haggens on Creston Rd in Paso almost any time of any day and you’ll “shop in peace.” You’ll also have your pick of parking spots because the once-crowded lot is 80% empty.

I feel sorry for the other tenants (including mom and pop stores) because it’s looking like their anchor store is about to close.


I went in for a few things at the Haggen’s on Creston Rd on Monday. Two bags of veggies and some bread and chips cost $88. Got home and opened one of the perishable item packages and it was moldy. Checked the expiration date it was Aug 7, 2015. Purchased on Aug 31, 2015. This is unacceptable even if the prices were reasonable. Don’t have time to return bad food because of poor inventory controls. Won’t ever go there again, they’ve had their last chance.


The only reason I go there is because their Deli has head cheese, my bride’s favorite, and the next nearest retailer is in Los Angeles’ Farmers Market…


In other words, small time Haggens got a little too big for their britches, gambled and didn’t do their homework, now they’re ticked that nobody shops there because they absolutely SUCK!

I was in the AG store for the first just a week ago. You could have unleashed a terrorist in there with a fully automatic weapon and no one would have been hurt….

…because everyone was at Vons.


Or Wal-Mart…


Or Smart & Final…


Or California Fresh.


I wasn’t at Von’s. I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than go to Von’s.