Haggen becomes bigger pharmacy player

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. — A major acquisition by regional food and drug chain Haggen Inc. will not only expand its store count nearly tenfold but also its number of pharmacies.

Haggen will boost its pharmacy count from less than 20 to more than 100 with the store acquisition.

The Pacific Northwest retailer, whose stores operate under the Haggen Northwest Fresh banner, earlier this month agreed to buy 146 supermarkets from AB Acquisition LLC, the parent of Albertsons, and Safeway Inc., which had to divest stores to proceed with their merger.

With the purchase, Haggen will expand from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies.

The company also will grow from 2,000 employees to more than 10,000 and enlarge its market area from Oregon and Washington to Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona.

"With this pivotal acquisition, we will have the opportunity to introduce many more customers to the Haggen experience. Our Pacific Northwest grocery store chain has been committed to local sourcing, investing in the communities we serve, and providing genuine service and homemade quality since it was founded in 1933," stated John Caple, chairman of Haggen and a partner at investment firm Comvest Partners, the majority owner of Haggen. "We will continue our focus on sourcing and investing locally even with this exciting expansion."

Plans call for the company to be led by co-chief executive officers John Clougher and Bill Shaner. Clougher will serve as CEO for Pacific Northwest and oversee the northern division of Washington and Oregon. Shaner will serve as CEO for Pacific Southwest, overseeing the southern division of California, Nevada and Arizona.

The transaction, terms of which weren’t disclosed, is expected to close in early next year. Haggen plans to convert all of the acquired Albertsons and Safeway stores to its banner in phases during the first half of 2015.

Haggen said all Albertsons and Safeway store employees will have the opportunity to become employees of Haggen as their stores are transitioned to the Haggen banner and that it plans to retain the current store management teams.

"We warmly welcome these new employees and stores into the Haggen family. The stores are well run and very successful, thanks to the dedicated store teams," Clougher said in a statement. "We want to retain these existing teams while allowing our growing company to build on their past successes. We plan to adopt the best practices of our new stores to offer a superior shopping experience for our valued customers in all of our stores."

Caple added, "The strength of our management and store support teams, combined with the talent of the store teams at each of the new store locations, will enable Haggen to be a successful West Coast grocer."



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