Wholesale grocery supplier C&S Wholesale Grocers LLC today said it will spend $1.9 billion to purchase 413 stores, eight distribution centers, and two offices that have become available due to the merger between The Kroger Co. and Albertsons Companies Inc.
C&S said the move will help it expand into the retail market, leveraging its existing operations in widespread food supply chains. The company already supplies more than 7,500 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases, and institutions with over 100,000 different products.
The deal comes as Kroger sheds certain locations in an effort to win regulatory approval for a $24.6 billion merger with fellow grocery giant Albertsons, originally announced in 2022. As part of the agreement, Kroger said it may also “require C&S to purchase up to an additional 237 stores” at an added cost.
Keene, New Hampshire-based C&S said the current agreement is set to close in early 2024, subject to regulatory clearance and customary closing conditions. The company will continue to recognize the union workforce and maintain all collective bargaining agreements, and is committed to retaining frontline employees and further investing for growth, the company said.
As part of the deal, C&S will acquire the QFC, Mariano’s, and Carrs brand names and the exclusive licensing rights to the Albertsons brand name in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Wyoming. C&S will also add five private labels to their current brand portfolio. Its affiliate 1918 Winter Street Partners will operate these stores.
“This is another exciting opportunity for C&S to expand into the retail market, which is an important component of our long-term growth. We have a strong foundation of retail experience with our Piggly Wiggly franchise and corporate-owned stores in the Midwest and Carolinas and the reopening of our iconic Grand Union — totaling more than 160 retail locations — all of which demonstrate C&S’s ability to deliver solid retail performance,” Eric Winn, COO and designated CEO (effective October 2) of C&S Wholesale Grocers, said in a release. “This will also further enhance C&S’s ability to serve our customers as we will be in a unique position as a leading wholesale supplier and retailer to help grow their business and continue our legacy of braggingly happy customers.”