U.S. senators from both parties have expressed skepticism that a proposed merger between grocery giants Kroger and Albertsons will lower prices for consumers. But the CEOs of Kroger and Albertsons insisted Tuesday that there will still be competition.
They told a hearing that a merger will help them counter growing rivals like Walmart, Costco and Amazon.
Kroger announced its plan to acquire Albertsons for $20 billion in mid-October. Together, the companies would control about 13% of the U.S. grocery market.
Lawmakers said the combined company will have to divest stores in places where they compete, which will likely raise prices. But Kroger's CEO said it has lowered prices after past mergers.
Albertsons, which owns Safeway, will divest between 100 to 375 stores to a new company called SpinCo. It's unclear how many of its 105 stores in Colorado would be affected. Kroger has 148 stores in Colorado under its King Soopers and City Market brands.
Kim Cordova, president of UFCW Local 7, which represents King Soopers and Safeway workers in Colorado, worries her members are going to lose their jobs and stores will be closed.
"We just went through this in 2014 when Albertsons and Safeway merged. We lost over 33 stores immediately, and workers lost their jobs," she said over Zoom Monday.
Kroger said the mega-chain would hold nearly 5,000 locations in 48 states.
Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.