The Federal Trade Commission has approved an application by Supervalu Inc. to sell a Shop ’n Save supermarket in Berryville, Va., and another in Martinsburg, W.Va. to Ahold/Delhaize. Supervalu acquired the stores under the FTC’s Oct. 31, 2016 modified final order settling charges that the $28 billion merger of supermarket chain operators Koninklijke Ahold and Delhaize Group would violate federal antitrust law.
Under the order, Supervalu is required to obtain Commission approval to resell certain stores within three years. According to the application, shortly after Supervalu acquired the stores, these locations 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 planned to close the stores in the coming months unless it was able to find a buyer. Supervalu contacted a large number of potential buyers. After no suitable alternative buyer emerged, Supervalu agreed to resell the stores back to Ahold/Delhaize, the application notes. Ahold/Delhaize intends to continue to operate the stores and make investments in the stores going forward, which should benefit both employees and consumers in these cities.
The Commission vote to approve the application was 5-0. (FTC File No. 151 0175; the staff contact is Eric D. Rohlck, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2861.)
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