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Sunday, November 18 , 2018, 3:09 pm | Fair with Haze 67º

 
 
 
 
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Troubled Haggen Chain Plans to Close or Sell 27 Stores

None of 6 Bellingham, Wash.-based company's stores in Santa Barbara County are affected

Haggen executives announced Friday that 27 of its grocery stores would close or be sold in coming months. None of the six stores in Santa Barbara County, including the Turnpike Road location near Goleta, are affected.
Haggen executives announced Friday that 27 of its grocery stores would close or be sold in coming months. None of the six stores in Santa Barbara County, including the Turnpike Road location near Goleta, are affected. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

A few months after a major expansion, Haggen grocery executives admitted this week they might have bitten off more than they could chew, announcing that 27 stores would close or be sold in coming months.

None of the six Haggen stores in Santa Barbara County made the list, but the Bellingham, Wash.-based chain cautioned more stores could close in the future as part of the company’s “right-sizing” strategy to remain competitive in a growing grocery market.

The local stores were all formerly Albertsons or Vons locations that made the transition this summer.

Most of the impacted stores in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington were acquired this year as part of the 146 Haggen picked up from AB Acquisition LLC and Safeway Inc., the entity created when Safeway (owner of Vons) merged with Albertsons.

Haggen already cut hours for many of its new employees in July and caught heat — and a class action discrimination lawsuit — after laying off 14 developmentally disabled people working as courtesy clerks at Santa Barbara County stores.

Many potential customers swore off the brand after the news, which couldn’t have helped earnings.

Haggen couldn’t say how many jobs would be impacted as a result of the planned closures.

A company spokeswoman declined to offer any details about future closings.

“Haggen’s goal going forward is to ensure a stable, healthy company that will benefit our customers, associates, vendors, creditors, stakeholders as well as the communities we serve,” Haggen CEO Pacific Southwest Bill Shaner said in a statement Friday.

“By making the tough choice to close and sell some stores, we will be able to invest in stores that have the potential to thrive under the Haggen banner.”

Through the acquisition, Haggen expanded from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies and 2,000 employees in the Pacific Northwest, to 164 stores and 106 pharmacies employing more than 10,000 people.

The company says its original Haggen’s stores continue to perform well. 

Stores slated for closure will continue to operate for the next 60 days. Impacted stores include five in Arizona, five in Oregon, one in Washington and 16 in California, with most in Los Angeles or San Diego.

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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