Attorney General Kris Mayes meeting with Arizonans over proposed grocery store merger
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - A proposed merger with two large grocery store chains could impact thousands of people across southern Arizona. Kroger and Albertsons announced the merger in October.
State Attorney General Kris Mayes is investigating the proposed deal and is meeting with Arizonans to hear their concerns. Nearly 50 people came out on Tuesday to voice their opinions. The overwhelming opinion was that people do not want this merger to happen.
Margaret Lacey, who attended the listening session, said she’s seen firsthand just how mergers like this one can impact a neighborhood.
“I know what could happen, because it happened in my neighborhood,” she said. “I had a neighborhood Safeway that was between a Fry’s and an Albertsons. Albertsons and Safeway closed. It was empty for months, actually probably for years. Now, it’s a big mega gym.”
Attorney General Kris Mayes took in all the concerns voiced even noting that many people didn’t want this to impact their neighborhood.
“The fact that one of these stores, or several of these stores, accept military insurance for pharmaceuticals and one of them doesn’t. That’s a huge impact on our armed services. For folks who are fighting for this country that could come from this merger if it comes through,” Mayes said. Many also noted having to travel farther for groceries if their local Fry’s or Albertson’s store is shut down, as well as the potential for higher prices. “People are already struggling with high prices. People are worried about the potential of this merger to jack up prices even further,” she added.
Kroger sent over this statement about the merger to 13 news:
“The Kroger Family of Companies has been serving Arizona, supporting local union jobs and investing in the community since 1960. Our merger with Albertsons will enable us to build on our history and bring meaningful, measurable benefits to our customers, our associates and the communities we serve. As we have in past mergers, we will hold ourselves accountable to our customer commitments, including investing $500 million to lower prices, offering a broader selection of fresh products and delivering value without compromise through an expanded Our Brands portfolio. Kroger has a long-standing commitment to investing in our associates and we will invest an additional $1 billion to raise wages and our comprehensive, industry-leading benefits starting on day one following close. Kroger will not lay off any frontline associates or close any stores, distribution centers or manufacturing facilities as a result of this merger.”
According to Mayes, it takes just one state attorney general to file a lawsuit to block the deal. She said “any state AG can file that lawsuit.” She continued, “We know, and I’m not the only one looking at it. We have multiple Attorney Generals in the west at the very least who are looking at this merger.”
In Arizona, 35,000 people are employed by these two grocery store chains.
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