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Gelson's, Smart & Final bid on Haggen stores in California

Gelson's, Smart & Final bid on Haggen stores in California
Supermarket chain Haggen said Monday that Gelson's Markets and Smart & Final are interested in buying some of Haggen's locations in California and Nevada. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

Less than two weeks after announcing the closure of all stores in California, Nevada and Arizona, embattled grocer Haggen Inc. said Monday that supermarket chains Gelson's Markets and Smart & Final are interested in buying some of Haggen's locations.

The Bellingham, Wash.-based grocery chain said in a statement that Gelson's signed a purchase agreement for eight California stores and Smart & Final signed an agreement for 28 stores in California and Nevada. Both agreements are subject to bankruptcy court approval.

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Gelson's, based in Encino, is a high-end supermarket chain with 18 stores across Southern California. The company did not provide financial details of the bid.

"Should our bid prove successful, it will be a benefit for thousands of shoppers who value quality products and exceptional service," Gelson's Chief Executive Rob McDougall said in a statement. "We look forward to welcoming the Haggen store employees into the Gelson's family."

City of Commerce-based Smart & Final said it has entered into an agreement to acquire the Haggen store leases and related assets for $56 million in cash. If approved, the deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter.

Smart & Final said it plans to convert the Haggen locations to Smart & Final Extra! stores, which are larger than the chain's normal stores. Smart & Final operates 270 stores.

An auction is scheduled Nov. 9.

Haggen struggled after buying 146 Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions and Safeway grocery stores in December. In September, the chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Gelson's is bidding on stores in:

Carlsbad
Del Mar
Ladera Ranch
Laguna Beach
San Diego
Rancho Mirage
Santa Monica
Thousand Oaks

Smart & Final is bidding on stores in:

Atascadero
Carlsbad
Carpinteria
Chino Hills
Chula Vista
Corona del Mar
Coronado
El Cajon (2)
La Mesa
Newbury Park
Palmdale
Paso Robles
Redondo Beach
San Diego (2)
San Luis Obispo
San Pedro
San Ysidro
Santa Barbara
Santee
Simi Valley
Torrance
Trabuco Canyon
Ventura
Westlake Village
Yorba Linda

For more business news, follow @smasunaga on Twitter.

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