Gelson’s Markets and Smart & Final Stores are making good on plans to expand their Los Angeles footprint by sweeping up stores from bankrupt grocer Haggen.
A bankruptcy court has approved Gelson’s bid to purchase six Southern California stores, including one in Santa Monica. The Encino supermarket chain said on Monday that it is awaiting court approval to pick up Laguna Beach and Carlsbad properties, where landlords have submitted objections. Gelson’s did not disclose the terms of the agreement, but earlier court documents priced the bid for eight stores at $36 million.
Smart & Final won approval to purchase 23 stores in Central and Southern California, and is awaiting the green light on nine others. The total tally would give it eight Los Angeles sites. Chief Executive Dave Hirz told the Business Journal that the Commerce grocer would pay about $70 million to take over the properties and another $70 million on renovations.
Another big winner amid Haggen’s collapse is Boise grocer Albertsons – the very company that fueled Haggen’s overly ambitious expansion by handing over nearly 150 stores when it merged with Pleasanton’s Safeway Inc. Albertsons had been forced to give them up to comply with anti-trust laws, but now bankruptcy court has approved its return to two Los Angeles locations and 31 more in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
Sprouts, a produce-centric market from Phoenix, will also pick up a Los Angeles site, along with several others in California and Nevada. Two real estate firms – Regency Centers of Jacksonville, Fla. and West L.A.’s Balboa Retail – won approval to nab the final two Los Angeles slots.