Rock Springs Albertsons Store Included in List of Proposed Sales Following Kroger Merger

Rock Springs Albertsons Store Included in List of Proposed Sales Following Kroger Merger

ROCK SPRINGS – The Rock Springs Albertsons grocery store is one of five Wyoming locations operated by the company named in a recently released list of stores and other facilities that will be sold as part of a merger between Albertsons and Kroger if it is approved by federal regulators.

The list is made up of 579 stores, as well as six distribution centers and one Denver-based dairy plant. The locations listed would be sold to C&S Wholesale Grocers in response to concerns raised by the Federal Trade Commission when it filed a suit to block the $24.6 billion deal, citing reduced competition and fears of increased prices for consumers. Other Wyoming stores listed in the document are in Casper, Cheyenne, Gillette and Jackson. The merger was announced in 2022, but has received criticism and legal challenges since then. 

One key concern in Rock Springs related to the merger was the fact that Kroger would have gained control of the second of three grocery stores in the city due to its ownership of the Smith’s Food and Drug brand, leaving Wal-Mart as the only other player in the county. Kroger has no competition in Green River, where its Smith’s location is the only grocery store in the city.

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One of the initial arguments for the merger by both companies is that it would allow them to better compete with Wal-Mart, but critics including the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union have said the opposite would happen, saying the merger would result in lost jobs, closed stores, higher prices with fewer options and food deserts. A food desert is an area where those living within it have limited access to healthy foods, either through limited options in where they can buy groceries or increased distance to better foods. The union was vocally supportive of state and federal efforts initiated to block the merger. Wyoming joined the FTC’s lawsuit to block the merger in February. 

Locally, the potential sale represents a hope the city will continue to have three options for grocery shopping. Rick Lee, CEO of the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce, said the potential for the Rock Springs Albertsons store to be sold to another company is good news as Sweetwater County prepares for an economic upturn in the coming years. He said Albertsons has been a great fixture in the city during the past decades and looks forward to the possibility of that continuing under new ownership.

“(Albertsons) has served us well over the years and they’ve been great business partners,” Lee said.

He said Albertsons would be difficult to replace if it closed as part of the proposed merger, saying the area needs multiple strong grocery stores to support the increased demand that will come with the planned trona expansions and other economic development set to occur in the area. 

The store manager at the Rock Springs Albertsons declined to comment on the proposal.