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Ashland Haggen store set to return as a Safeway

Local report

Albertsons submitted the winning bids for 33 Haggen grocery store sites — including Ashland's — that were put on the auction block this week as part of a bankruptcy proceeding.

According to court documents, the Ashland store will reopen under the Safeway brand name. Albertsons and Safeway merged in January.

The Bellingham Herald reports that Albertsons, which sold 146 stores to Haggen earlier this year, came with the highest bids on 34 of 55 stores that received bids. Documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Friday show the stores Albertsons bid on are in Arizona, California, Oregon and Nevada and Washington. Another 40 stores did not receive a bid.

Bellingham-based Haggen said in an email the 55 stores will fetch over $47 million. A previous sale of 36 stores to Gelson's and Smart & Final will bring $92 million.

The auction does not include more than 30 core stores that Haggen wants to auction in January.

The bankruptcy auction was held Monday through Wednesday, and court documents filed last week listed 95 stores for sale. According to that document, Albertsons bid on 36 of them.

Albertsons' successful bids included the store at 585 Siskiyou Blvd. in Ashland. The store was formerly a Safeway, but was sold to Haggen following the merger between Safeway and Albertsons. The Federal Trade Commission required the sale of numerous stores operating under the two brand names to limit unfair competition advantages in communities where the two had multiple sites.

Albertsons already has a store in Ashland. Questions remain to be answered about whether the purchase of a second store would run afoul of the FTC's previous order.

The Ashland Food Co-op had also indicated interest in buying the former Haggen store on Siskiyou Boulevard, but  did not submit a bid, according to a co-op official.

Albertsons won bids on four of five Oregon stores: Baker City, Eugene (the Hilyard Street store), Springfield and Ashland. Tawa Supermarket Inc., which operates Asian-American grocery chain 99 Ranch Market, won the bid for a Beaverton store.

Albertsons said in the court filing that it will operate each of the stores it is buying under the name it was using prior to being sold to Haggen. After it bought Safeway, Albertsons continued to operate its stores under their existing brand names.

Albertsons also won bids for 12 Washington stores, three Arizona stores, 11 California stores and three stores in Nevada.