Federal regulators have not weighed in yet on the proposed $24.6 billion merger between grocery store giants Kroger and Albertsons, but the Maryland Attorney General’s Office wants feedback from Maryland residents.
The two chains combined operate 165 stores in the D.C. area. Kroger also owns Harris Teeter. There are no local Albertsons stores, but Albertsons owns Safeway, the second largest grocer in the D.C. region behind Giant.
The Maryland Attorney General’s survey is online. Attorney General Anthony Brown said its results will play a critical role in shaping the office’s efforts to ensure that the proposed merger aligns with the best interests of the state and residents.
The Maryland Attorney General’s Office has not issued an opinion on the merger, or indicated any action to date. It said its antitrust division is monitoring developments closely to evaluate the merger’s potential anti-competitive effects.
“I know families are feeling the effects of rising food prices every time they visit a grocery store. I want to ensure that Marylanders’ voices are heard throughout the process of this potential merger, and that any potential deal upholds the principles of fair competition order to protect or communities, including consumers, workers, farmers and local businesses,” Brown said in a statement.
Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 2,800 stores in 35 states. Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons operates 2,273 stores in 34 states. The two companies employ a combined 710,000 people.
Kroger and Albertsons plan to divest hundreds of stores as part of the regulatory approval process. Earlier this month, Kroger sold 10 D.C.-area Harris Teeter stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers, who’s grocery store chains include Piggly Wiggly and Grand Union. The two companies expect their merger to win FTC approval and close in early 2024.
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