Haggen sues Albertsons for more than $1 billion

Haggen, a Pacific Northwest grocery chain, announced this week that it has filed a lawsuit against Albertsons for more than $1 billion in damages.

The suit alleges that the grocery store giant tricked Haggen into buying dozens of Western U.S. stores and sabotaged Haggen’s entry into the new markets.

The complaint, filed Tuesday in federal court in Delaware, alleged that following Haggen’s December 2014 purchase of 146 Albertsons and Safeway stores, many in Southern California, Haggen was forced to close 26 of them and might have to shut down more.

Haggen acquired the Albertsons on South Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, one in Corona del Mar, a Pavilions in Irvine and nine other stores in Orange County.

The lawsuit further alleged that Albertsons committed unfair actions during the store conversion process, including providing Haggen with false, misleading and incomplete retail pricing data, causing Haggen stores to unknowingly inflate prices.


It also claims Albertsons removed store fixtures and inventory from Haggen-acquired stores that Haggen paid for and deliberately overstocked perishable inventory at Haggen stores beyond levels consistent with the ordinary course of business.

Haggen only had 18 stores in Washington and Oregon when it purchased the stores from Albertsons and Safeway, which were forced to sell them as part of a merger to satisfy antitrust concerns raised by the Federal Trade Commission.

“Albertsons’ anti-competitive actions critically damaged the operations, customer service, brand goodwill and profitability of the divested stores from the outset and have caused significant harm to competition, local communities, employees and consumers,” the complaint said.

—Kathleen Luppi