The Federal Trade Commission is accepting public comments on an application by Supervalu Inc. to divest a Shop ’n Save supermarket in Berryville, Va., and another in Martinsburg, WV.
The FTC’s Oct. 31, 2016 modified final order with grocery chain operators Koninklijke Ahold and Delhaize Group required them to divest 18 of their stores in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia to Supervalu affiliate, Shop ’N Save East, LLC. The final order settled charges that the proposed $28 billion merger of Koninklijke Ahold and Delhaize Group likely would have been anticompetitive.
For three years after the order was issued, Supervalu was required under the order to obtain approval from the FTC if Supervalu chose to sell certain stores. According to the application, Supervalu intends to resell two stores – one in Berryville, VA and the other in Martinsburg, WV – back to Koninklijke Ahold and Delhaize Group (“Giant”).
According to the application, shortly after it acquired the stores, Supervalu experienced a steep decline in sales. Despite significant efforts, Supervalu was unable to bring shoppers back to the stores and recover the lost sales. Faced with this poor initial performance, Supervalu’s joint-venture partner in the divestiture declined to take over the stores, according to the application. Supervalu states that it plans to close the stores in the coming months unless a buyer is found.
The application notes that Supervalu attempted to find alternative buyers for the stores. Giant, however, was the best available buyer. According to the application, the transaction therefore will preserve consumer choice and jobs in each city. The application also states that Giant is expected to make significant investments in the acquired stores going forward.
The Commission will decide whether to approve the application after a 30-day public comment period, which expires on Dec. 27, 2018. Comments can be filed electronically, or sent to: FTC Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington. (FTC File No. 151 0175; the staff contact is, Eric D. Rohlck, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2861.)
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