Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal
Kroger-Albertsons Merger Draws Protest From State Officials
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The proposed merger of food retail giants Kroger and Albertsons has elicited criticism from seven secretaries of state.
In a letter sent to the chair of the Federal Trade Commission, Lina Khan, the state officials from New Mexico, Colorado, Rhode Island, Arizona, Maine, Vermont and Minnesota argue the $24.6 billion merger would eliminate choice for consumers, adding that it could mean “no competitive incentive to bring down prices and ... consumers will be powerless to hold the company accountable to promises of keeping prices low.”
They also say if the merger is approved, the combined companies will control nearly a quarter of the national food retail market. They say that could have implications for local farmers, small businesses and suppliers “that rely on a competitive grocery market.”
“If the merger goes through, the lack of competition gives Kroger-Albertsons substantial power to dictate prices that harm growers and shippers who will be forced to cut wages for their own workers,” a portion of the letter reads.
But a Kroger spokesperson told the Journal the opposite is true, that a merger would mean that prices will in fact decrease, that consumers will have more choice when they shop and that wages will rise with the combined companies.
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“The only parties who would benefit if this merger is not completed are large, nonunionized competitors, such as Walmart and Amazon,” the spokesperson said, adding that “Kroger will not lay off any frontline associates or close any stores, distribution centers or manufacturing facilities as a result of this merger.”
Albertsons could not be reached for comment.
Kroger operates 24 locations in New Mexico — 14 of which are in Albuquerque — under the Smith’s brand. It has more than 2,500 employees in the state.
Albertsons also has a large presence in New Mexico, with more than two dozen Albertsons Market and Albertsons stores.
Kroger ranks No. 25 and Albertsons No. 40 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America. They rank No. 3 and No. 5 respectively on the list of top grocers.
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