What will happen to Illinois Mariano's, Jewel stores sold in Kroger-Albertsons merger quest?

As they continue to pursue a blockbuster merger, Kroger and Albertsons identified hundreds of stores across the U.S., including several in Illinois

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With nearly three dozen Mariano's and Jewel-Osco stores in Illinois expected to be sold as part of a potential merger between popular grocery chains Kroger and Albertsons, what will it mean if your local shop is on the list?

As they continue to pursue a blockbuster merger, Kroger and Albertsons identified hundreds of stores across the U.S., which they plan to sell as part of a divestiture agreement.

Here's what this could mean:

How many stores will be sold and why?

The sales talks come after regulators raised concerns about their potential merger leading to a lack of competition.

In response to that concern, a total of 579 stores across the two companies’ portfolios would be sold to C&S Wholesale Grocer, according to a release,

What will happen to the stores that are sold? Will they close?

The companies have pledged that no stores will be closed as a result of the merger, and all collective bargaining agreements will remain in place.

"We have reached an agreement with C&S for an updated divestiture package that maintains Kroger's commitments to customers, associates and communities, addresses concerns raised by regulators, and will further ensure that C&S can successfully operate the divested stores as they are operated today," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's Chairman and CEO, in a statement earlier this year.

C&S told NBC Chicago that the purchased stores will mean "welcoming hundreds of highly skilled grocery retail veterans and tens of thousands of store associates from Kroger and Albertsons who are currently responsible for these stores."

"Their skill and knowledge, along with our leading wholesale and supply expertise will undoubtedly ensure that these stores continue to successfully serve their communities for many generations to come," the company said in a statement. "C&S acquiring these stores also will benefit store associates, customers, consumers, communities and our wholesale customers."

“I’m happy it’s not closing, but I’m a little disappointed,” customer Anthony Collins said. “There’s a merger because I don’t know how it’s going to affect prices.”

Further details on potential changes in store for the impacted locations remained unclear.

Which stores in Illinois will be sold?

The initial news of the divestment sale was released in April, but this week Kroger and Albertsons released the full list of Illinois stores that will be impacted by the sale this week.

Most of the affected stores in Illinois carry the Mariano's brand, while a total of four Jewel-Osco locations in the city and suburbs will be included in the sale.

Albertsons currently operates 188 Jewel-Osco locations in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, while Kroger operates an unspecified number of locations in Illinois under its own banner.

Here is the full list of stores that will be impacted by the sale:

Jewel-Osco Locations:

  • 12001 South Pulaski Road, Alsip
  • 87 West 87th Street, Chicago
  • 1537 North Larkin Avenue, Joliet
  • 12803 South Harlem Avenue, Palos Heights

Mariano's Locations:

  • 802 East Northwest Highway, Arlington Heights
  • 144 South Gary Avenue, Bloomingdale
  • 3350 North Western Avenue, Chicago
  • 5353 North Elston Avenue, Chicago
  • 1800 West Lawrence Avenue, Chicago
  • 5201 North Sheridan Road, Chicago
  • 1500 North Clybourn Avenue Suite 104, Chicago
  • 3857 South Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Chicago
  • 105 Northwest highway, Crystal Lake
  • 2999 Waukegan Road, Deerfield
  • 10 East Golf Road, Des Plaines
  • 678 North York Street, Elmhurst
  • 21001 South LaGrange Road, Frankfort
  • 6655 Grand Avenue, Gurnee
  • 1350 East Route 22, Lake Zurich
  • 345 West Roosevelt Avenue, Lombard
  • 1300 South Naper Boulevard, Naperville
  • 784 Skokie Boulevard, Northbrook
  • 11000 South Cicero Avenue, Oak Lawn
  • 545 North Hicks Road, Palatine
  • 1900 South Cumberland Avenue, Park Ridge
  • 3358 West Touhy Avenue, Skokie
  • 1720 North Milwaukee Avenue, Vernon Hills
  • 3020 Wolf Road, Westchester
  • 4700 Gilbert Avenue, Western Springs
  • 150 West 63rd Street, Westmont
  • 625 South Main Street, Wheaton
  • 1822 Willow Road, Winnetka

What's the latest on the merger?

Even with the revised divestiture agreement, there are still questions about whether the moves will be enough to earn federal approval of the merger. According to the Washington Post, critics have raised concerns about C&S’s “lack of experience handling a large fleet of stores," but both Kroger and Albertsons say they agreed to provide additional corporate and office infrastructure to help alleviate those issues.

Illinois is one of eight states that signed on as party to a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission seeking to block the merger, citing alleged violations of federal antitrust law. The suit alleges the merger would eliminate competition and lead to higher prices.

A court hearing is scheduled in Oregon on Aug. 26.

Why do the companies want a merger?

Kroger and Albertsons first agreed to merge in October 2022. The companies said a merger would help them better compete with Walmart, Amazon, Costco and other big rivals. Together, Kroger and Albertsons would control around 13% of the U.S. grocery market; Walmart controls 22%, according to an Associated Press report citing J.P. Morgan analyst Ken Goldman.

The merger, if approved, is valued at $24.6 billion, making it the largest supermarket merger in U.S. history, according the Federal Trade Commission.

During a call on June 27 with investors, Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said the deal will bring lower prices to customers.

“It’s been our strategy for over 15 years to lower prices,” he said, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier. “We believe this merger creates the best environment in the near and long-term to bring lower prices and more choices to more people.”

The deal also includes 10 billion meals donated to combat hunger and to invest more than $1 billion in employee wages and benefits, according to the publication.

The Associated Press/NBC Chicago
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