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Haggen To Exit Pacific Southwest; Will Realign Pacific Northwest Ops

The latest twist in the storied saga that has come to define Haggen's short-lived expansion – and subsequent abrupt dismantling – finds the embattled Bellingham, Wash.-based grocery chain planning to exit from the Pacific Southwest market and realign its operations around 37 core stores and one stand-alone pharmacy in the Pacific Northwest as part of the Chapter 11 process.

In the wake of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and gaining approval for $215 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from existing lenders, Haggen is now seeking permission from the bankruptcy court to conduct store closing sales.

All employees of the non-core stores and the Pacific Southwest support office will receive 60 day notice of the pending store and office closures. During this process, all stores will remain open. Employees will continue to receive their pay and benefits through the normal course of business as previously approved by the court. 

Haggen is supporting the efforts of employees to secure work elsewhere while it continues to work with Albertsons in its request for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to waive the restriction in its order which restricts the hiring of Haggen employees. Because this is a modification of an order entered by the FTC, the waiver will require the agency's approval, preferably on an expedited basis.

Focus on Core Operations

Moving forward, Haggen said it intends to re-build its operations around a core group of successful stores made up of 37 stores in the Pacific Northwest, including 16 of its original locations, one stand alone pharmacy, and 21 stores acquired in the 2015 Albertsons' transaction.

Haggen confirmed its historical stores have seen strong sales growth over the past year, with 21 newly-acquired stores proving to be most successful under the Haggen banner. The company said it anticipates that those locations will continue to see increased customer counts and sales growth as it continues its original mission of adding more fresh, local, and exclusive items to these new stores and expanding on its successful Pacific Northwest strategy.

“Haggen plans to continue to build its brand in partnership with its dedicated corporate support and store teams," John Clougher, Haggen Pacific Northwest's CEO said in a statement.   “Haggen has a long record of success in the Pacific Northwest and these identified stores will have the best prospect for ongoing excellence. Although this has been a difficult process and experience," Clougher continued, "we will remain concentrated in the Pacific Northwest where we began, focusing on fresh Northwest products and continuing our support and involvement in the communities we serve.”

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