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The Federal Trade Commission has given final approval to a consent agreement with Schwegmann Giant Super Markets, Inc., settling charges that its acquisition of 28 supermarkets in New Orleans, Louisiana, and elsewhere from National Holdings, Inc. would violate antitrust laws. The FTC had alleged that, by combining direct supermarket competitors in New Orleans, the transaction is likely to lessen competition substantially. The Commission's action makes the consent order provisions binding on Schwegmann.

Schwegmann is based in New Orleans. National is based in St. Louis and is owned by W. Galen Weston of Canada. In the transaction at issue, Schnuck Markets, Inc. would acquire all of National's U.S. supermarkets, and then transfer the 28 National supermarkets in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to Schweg- mann. The National supermarkets in New Orleans currently operate under the names Canal Villere, That Stanley! and The Real Super- store. Schnucks and Schwegmann each operate their stores under their own names. A related consent agreement with Schnucks in this matter remains pending.

Under the final order, Schwegmann must divest the following seven National stores in the New Orleans area:

  • That Stanley!, 315 E. Judge Perez Drive

  • That Stanley!, 4223 Chef Menteur Highway

  • That Stanley!, 9319 Jefferson Highway

  • Canal Villere, 4726 Paris Avenue

  • Canal Villere, 2125 Caton Street

  • Canal Villere, 5245 Veterans Memorial Boulevard

  • Canal Villere, 135 Robert E. Lee Boulevard

Pending divestiture, Schwegmann must keep the stores to be divested in marketable and viable condition. The divestitures must be made within 12 months to entities that will operate the stores as supermarkets in competition with Schwegmann.

The consent agreement was announced for a public-comment period on March 8. The Commission vote to issue it in final form occurred on June 2, and was 5-0.

NOTE: A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute admission of a law violation. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions by the respon- dents. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $10,000.

A news release summarizing the complaint and consent agree- ment was issued at the time the Commission accepted the consent agreement for public comment. Copies of that release and of the complaint and final order are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.

FTC File No. 941 0130)

(Docket No. C-3584)