Once again, the auction of Haggen’s core stores has been postponed.
A court document filed on Friday afternoon, Feb. 19 announced that the auction is being rescheduled for Friday, March 11. It will be held at 6 a.m. PST in New York City, at the law offices of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.
The court document did not elaborate on why the auction was postponed, nor did officials from the Bellingham-based grocer have any immediate comment. The auction was scheduled for Monday before this latest change.
The sale hearing to approve the high bidder, which was set to take place Feb. 29, also will be rescheduled.
It’s the third time the auction has been rescheduled. The company has more than 30 core stores, including two in Thurston County and three in Pierce County, and one pharmacy that are expected to be in this auction. The company also operates several noncore stores in Oregon and Washington; it is unclear whether those stores will be part of the auction.
The auction is part of the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Haggen purchased 146 stores in 2015 from Albertsons and Safeway to help satisfy a Federal Trade Commission requirement of shedding stores prior to the Albertsons-Safeway merger. In November, Haggen auctioned off dozens of noncore stores, many bought back by Haggen.
At this point, it has not been publicly disclosed who are the qualified bidders for the auction. A variety of options exist for the future of the Bellingham-based grocer, depending on who emerges as the high bidder. An investor or buyer could come in and purchase the stores with the intention of keeping the brand, which is well-known in the Pacific Northwest. It is also possible that the Comvest Group, the Florida private investment firm that became the major stakeholder in the company in 2011, could enter the auction and be the high bidder.
It's also possible that a different grocer could be the high bidder and convert the stores to its brand, marking the end of the Haggen era.