A Kroger-Albertsons Merger Is a Bad Deal for Consumers, Workers, and Communities
Washington, D.C. — In response to news that two of the top national grocery store chains, Kroger and Albertsons, are rumored to be in merger talks, the American Economic Liberties Project released the following statement.
“There is no reason to allow two of the biggest supermarket chains in the country to merge — especially with food prices already soaring,” said Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project. “With 60% of grocery sales concentrated among just 5 national chains, a Kroger-Albertons deal would squeeze consumers already struggling to afford food, crush workers fighting for fair wages, and destroy independent, community stores. This merger is a cut and dry case of monopoly power, and enforcers should block it.”
According to data from the National Grocers Association, over 60% of American grocery sales are estimated to be concentrated among Walmart, Kroger, Amazon, Albertsons and Ahold Delhaize. Meanwhile, new CPI data released this morning showed food prices are still skyrocketing — increasing .8% since last month. Over the past year, there’s been a 30.5% price increase for eggs, 17.2% for chicken, and 14.7% for bread, among other staple foodstuffs.
Consolidation in the grocery sector has long been an issue — one that has previously been mismanaged by antitrust enforcers. In 2015, Albertsons sought to acquire competitor Safeway for $9.4 billion. Of the more than 2,400 grocery stores that Albertsons and Safeway owned in total, the FTC required the sale of 168 of them located in eight Western states. That divesture was a disaster. Within a year, Alberton’s had bought back 33 of the stores for about one-fifth of what it had sold them for, and communities across these states ultimately ended up with a monopoly.
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The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.