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Hughes Markets to Be Sold

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Hughes Family Markets said Wednesday that it will be acquired for $360 million by Quality Food Centers Inc., a growing Washington state supermarket chain.

Hughes, founded in 1952 by Joseph Hughes and based in Irwindale, is a privately held company with revenue of approximately $1 billion and 56 stores in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

QFC, a 41-year-old company headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., a Seattle suburb, is the second- largest supermarket chain in the Puget Sound area, with 64 stores and 4,400 employees.

QFC’s stores and the Hughes markets will be operated as separate business units by a holding company. Hughes has more than 5,000 employees.

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“We’d like to have QFC and Hughes share ideas in a positive environment; we’re not trying to make them all the same,” said QFC Chairman Stuart M. Sloan. “We think Hughes is a wonderful company as it is.”

Hughes management and store employees will remain in place, with Fred McLaren as president and chief operating officer and Roger Hughes as chief executive, Sloan said.

The merger with QFC, combined with the acquisition of another Seattle supermarket chain announced last week, will bring annual revenue for the combined companies to $2 billion.

Sloan said the mergers are part of an ongoing expansion plan. The company is continuing to look at other supermarket chains, including some in Southern California, he said.

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Sloan said he first approached Hughes nine years ago about expanding into Southern California via a merger. But Hughes did not appear willing until several months ago, he said.

Hughes operates a 700,000- square-foot, state-of-the-art distribution center in Irwindale, built in 1993. It also co-owns Santee Dairies Inc., the largest dairy plant in California, with the Stater Bros. supermarket chain.

The move announced last week was a $65-million acquisition of Keith Uddenberg Inc., a supermarket chain with 25 stores and 2,000 employees.


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