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Albertsons, Sprouts Taking Over Former Santa Barbara County Haggen Locations

Four of the six local former Haggen locations have been claimed by new owners as the chain goes through bankruptcy court— all except two in Santa Barbara.

The Bellingham, Wash.-based chain on Wednesday announced buyers for 47 of the 146 stores Haggen acquired across five states from AB Acquisition LLC and Safeway Inc., the entity created when Safeway (owner of Vons) merged with Albertsons.

Albertsons will reclaim its former store at 1500 N. H St. in Lompoc and pick up the former Vons at 163 S. Turnpike Road in Goleta, according to purchase-agreement approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Delaware.

Sprouts Farmers Market, an Arizona-based national chain, will move into the former Vons at 175 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta.

Smart & Final plans to take over the former Vons at 850 Linden Ave. in Carpinteria.

Haggen spokeswoman Deborah Pleva confirmed the chain’s advisers are still working to sell locations at 3943 State St. and 2010 Cliff Drive, both former Albertsons.

“Completion of these transactions remains subject to certain conditions,” Haggen said.

The first Haggen stores opened locally last summer. All were closed as of Tuesday.

The chain has struggled since entering new markets in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Nevada, growing from 18 regional store locations to 164.

Haggen has blamed its failure on Albertsons in a $1 billion lawsuit, which alleges the fellow grocer sabotaged its entrance into new markets by providing false retail data for pricing, taking store inventory and more.

Haggen is selling all but a few core locations in the Chapter 11 process.

No word yet on when the new owners will take over except at the Carpinteria location.

At the Carpinteria City Council meeting Monday, City Manager Dave Durflinger said locals could expect a Smart & Final Extra store to open in the second quarter of 2016.

Officials also noted Smart & Final wouldn’t need discretionary permits to take over the space, just administrative ones to make inside tenant improvements to the building.

Idaho-based Albertsons successfully bid for 30 total stores and plans to close on the transactions in the coming weeks, the company said Wednesday. Albertsons will re-open the stores under its various operating banners in 2016.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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