U.S. regulators file lawsuit to prevent Kroger-Albertsons supermarket merger

  • World
  • Tuesday, 27 Feb 2024

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. regulators and nine state attorneys general are filing a lawsuit in an attempt to halt the 24.6 billion U.S. dollar merger between Kroger and Albertsons, the two largest supermarket chains in the country.

Largest supermarket merger in the U.S. history will eliminate competition and raise grocery prices for millions of Americans, while harming tens of thousands of workers, the Federal Trade Commission(FTC) said in a statement on Monday.

"This supermarket mega merger comes as American consumers have seen the cost of groceries rise steadily over the past few years. Kroger's acquisition of Albertsons would lead to additional grocery price hikes for everyday goods, further exacerbating the financial strain consumers across the country face today," said Henry Liu, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition.

"Essential grocery store workers would also suffer under this deal, facing the threat of their wages dwindling, benefits diminishing, and their working conditions deteriorating," Liu said.

While the lawsuit contended that it would stifle competition, the companies argued that the merger was crucial for their survival in the current grocery industry landscape.

Kroger operates thousands of stores across 36 states, which includes regional banners such as Fred Meyer, Fry's, Harris Teeter, King Soopers, Kroger, and Quality Food Centers (QFC). Albertsons also operates thousands of stores across 35 states under regional names including Albertsons, Haggen, Jewel-Osco, Pavilions, Safeway, and Vons, the FTC noted.

If the merger were completed, Kroger and Albertsons would operate more than 5,000 stores and approximately 4,000 retail pharmacies, and would employ nearly 700,000 employees across 48 states.

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