On Monday, Dec. 23, the Federal Trade Commission accepted a settlement package from Albertson’s LLC after a complaint was lodged against the supermarket chain.
According to documents released last week by the FTC, Albertson’s LLC did not initially make public that it purchased the Lubbock based chain United Supermarkets for $385 million. An FTC press release stated that “the proposed merger of Albertson’s and United is likely to reduce competition in local grocery markets within Amarillo and Wichita Falls, which would harm consumers through higher prices, lower quality and reduced service levels.”
The settlement offered by Albertson’s to the FTC included the sale of its Amarillo and Wichita Falls stores to MAL Enterprises, which owns several companies including the Sweetwater based grocery chain, Lawrence Brothers, IGA. Director of Communications for United Supermarkets L.L.C. Eddie Owens said that the settlement agreement between the FTC and Albertson’s LLC in no way affects the United location in Graham.
“It really doesn’t involve us (United Supermarkets),” Owens said. “That’s kind of a pre-merger requirement as far as the FTC is concerned, so that’s really more between Albertson’s and Lawrence Brothers. I think the big thing here is keeping the competitive landscape fair and equitable, and the FTC obviously felt that Albertson’s acquiring us would diminish competition in those two areas.”
Owens added that the settlement will have no impact on the United location in Graham as well as all 50 of its other locations throughout the country.
“We will still be United Supermarkets and operate our stores under our current name nationwide,” he said.
Owens said that if there was an Albertson’s operating in Graham, it would likely have been sold as part of the settlement with the FTC.
“Pure speculation, but I would say (an Albertson’s in Graham would have been sold) probably more so in a community that size than anywhere else, purely because not many stores exist in a community that size. But really, we were fortunate that we only had two markets that were in that situation,” he said.
Read the entire story in the midweek edition of The graham Leader.