Grocery chain Haggen wants to close 100 stores including its location in Everett and another in Monroe that are losing money and unlikely to be sold as a “going concern,” according to papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware Thursday.
It’s part of a plan by the Bellingham company to jettison its Southwest stores and focus on 37 stores and a standalone pharmacy in the Northwest.
As part of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, Haggen is seeking approval from the court to allow the stores to close and the company to sell off its merchandise.
It is “imperative that these sales commence immediately,” Haggen said in the court documents. The closing stores are costing Haggen about $11.1 million per month.
The Everett store that Haggen is looking to close is located at 7601 Evergreen Way. The Monroe store is located at 19881 U.S. 2, according to the court documents.
If those stores are closed, Haggen would retain only five stores in Snohomish County — stores in Marysville, Lake Stevens, Snohomish, Stanwood and Clearview.
In all, the company wants to close 14 stores in Washington. Most of the stores closures would be in California. Earlier this month, the company announced that its Pacific Southwest region CEO Bill Shaner had left the company. Shaner was responsible for stores in Nevada, Arizona and Southern California.
All employees of the non-core stores and the Pacific Southwest support office will receive 60-day notice. During the process, all stores will remain open. Employees will continue to receive their pay and benefits through the normal course of business as previously approved by the court.
Haggen said it is looking to help its employees find other work and is continuing to work with Albertsons in its request for the Federal Trade Commission to waive the restriction Albertsons on rehiring former employees.. It’s the end of a grand vision for the company to grow from a small Northwest grocer into a West Coast heavyweight. Haggen purchased 146 stores earlier this year from Albertsons and Safeway when those two companies merged.
With the expansion, Haggen went from 18 stores with 2,000 employees to 164 stores with 10,000 employees across the West Coast.
Problems started surfacing almost immediately.
In August, Haggen announced that it would close or sell 27 stores in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Then, the company filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Albertsons, alleging that the company sabotaged store conversions and purposely overstocked perishable items including loading meat freezers at one stores with 256 cases of frozen turkeys.
Earlier this month, Haggen filed for bankruptcy with the goal to reorganized around its core profitable stores. Under the plan announced Thursday, Haggen wants to keep 16 of its legacy stores in the Northwest, the pharmacy and 21 stores acquired in Albertsons deal.
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