Chicago-Area Shoppers React on Social Media to Massive Mariano's, Jewel Grocery Merger (2024)

A merger of two of the nation's largest grocery stores -- Kroger, which owns Mariano's, and Albertsons, which owns Jewel-Osco -- is drawing strong reaction on social media from regular shoppers of both stores.

"I don’t see anything good to come out of this deal for us," a comment on NBC 5 Chicago's Facebook post read. "Only higher prices."

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"Kroger going to ruin Jewel now too like Mariano’s?" another read.

In an announcement Friday, Kroger said it has agreed to merge with Albertsons Companies Inc. According to the announcement, Kroger bid $20 billion, or $34.10 per share, for the rival grocer.

Kroger will also assume $4.7 billion of Albertsons’ debt.

Albertsons shares had closed Thursday at $28.63 after surging on reports that a deal was imminent. According to CNBC, the deal is valued at $24.6 billion.

Both companies' boards unanimously approved the agreement, which will need regulatory approval. It's expected to close in early 2024.

Kroger is the second-largest grocer by market share in the United States, behindWalmart, and Albertsons is fourth, afterCostco. Together, Kroger and Albertsons would be a closer second to Walmart.

Kroger, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, operates 2,800 stores in 35 states, including brands like Ralphs, Smith’s and Harris Teeter.

In the Chicago area, Kroger owns and operates Mariano's grocery stores.

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Alberstons, based in Boise, Idaho, operates 2,220 stores in 34 states, including brands like Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Safeway.

Together the companies employ around 710,000 people.

The deal, likely to get heavy scrutiny from U.S. antitrust regulators -- especially at a time of high food price inflation -- is already causing a stir among Chicago area grocery shoppers, many of whom still feel the sting from when Chicago-area chain Dominick's stores closed. As a result, some long-standing Dominick's stores by the end of 2013 were reopened rebranded into Mariano's after the Milwaukee based brand stepped in.

"Now Jewel is going to be dragged down," one Facebook comment read. "We all know where Dominick's is now."

Together, the stores would control around 13% of the U.S. grocery market, assuming the sale or closure of around 400 stores for antitrust reasons, according to J.P. Morgan analyst Ken Goldman.

Still, that is a distant second to Walmart’s 22% share. Amazon, which bought Whole Foods in 2017, is also a growing player in the space, with 3% share. Warehouse store Costco controls 6%.

Goldman said a stronger combined company could possibly help tame food price inflation, since it would have more power to reject food producers’ price increases.

Kroger said would reinvest approximately $500 million into price reductions, and spend $1.3 billion updating Albertsons stores and $1 billion on higher employee wages and improved benefits.

But critics questioned a merger at a time of high food price inflation.Food prices rose 13%in September compared with last year, according to U.S. data released Thursday.

“A Kroger-Albertsons deal would squeeze consumers already struggling to afford food, crush workers fighting for fair wages and destroy independent, community stores,” said Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project, a nonprofit that supports stronger corporate accountability and antitrust measures.

It was no secret that Albertsons was thinking about selling the company. The chain announced in February that its board was reviewing options to enhance shareholder value, including developing new businesses or a sale.

And both Albertsons and Kroger themselves have grown into huge operations partially through acquisitions.

Albertsons was bought by a consortium of investors including Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm, in 2006. Cerberus helped finance Albertsons’ 2015 purchase of the Safeway grocery chain and attempted a failed merger with Rite Aid in 2018. Albertsons became a publicly traded company in 2020.

Cerberus currently holds nearly 30% of Albertsons shares. The merger deal includes a $4 billion dividend to Albertsons shareholders.

In 2015 alone, Kroger purchased four chains: Roundy’s, Pick ’N Save, Metro Markets and Mariano’s. It bought the meal kit company Home Chef in 2018.

Kroger has long outperformed Albertsons in key areas, including the development of store brands and advanced technology, said Neil Saunders, managing director of Global Retail Data, a market research company. Last year, for example, Kroger opened the first of 20 planned warehouses where robots help fulfill delivery orders.

The massive merger and its implications do not appear to be lost on Chicago-area grocery store shoppers.

"Almost a monopoly on the food supply," a Facebook comment reads. "What's the worst the can happen?"

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Chicago-Area Shoppers React on Social Media to Massive Mariano's, Jewel Grocery Merger (2024)


Is Marianos owned by Kroger? ›

Most of the stores are Mariano's stores, but a few are Jewel-Osco stores. Kroger owns the Mariano's brand, while Albertsons owns Jewel-Osco. A Kroger spokesperson said none of the stores will close. They would be divested to C&S Wholesale Grocers, the parent company of Piggly Wiggly and Grand Union supermarkets.

What Illinois stores is Kroger selling? ›

35 Mariano's, Jewel stores in Illinois to be sold in Kroger-Albertsons merger talks.

What stores will Kroger divest? ›

In total, 579 stores will be divested across 18 states and Washington, D.C.. These planned divestitures include stores from multiple brands, including Albertsons, Carrs, Eagle, Haggen, Harris Teeter, Jewel-Osco, Lucky Store, Marianos, Market Street, Pavilions, QFC, Randalls, Safeway, Tom Thumb, and Vons.

How many Mariano's are in Chicago? ›

Marianos has 13 grocery stores in CHICAGO, IL. Whether you prefer to shop in-store, delivery, or curbside pickup, your neighborhood Marianos offers thousands of quality products ranging from fresh produce, meats, seafood, dry goods, home supplies, health products and more.

What is Kroger called in California? ›

Ralphs is an American supermarket chain in Southern California. The largest subsidiary of Cincinnati-based Kroger, it is the oldest such chain west of the Mississippi River. Kroger also operates stores under the Food 4 Less and Foods Co. names in California.

Who is Trader Joe's owned by? ›

Trader Joe's, although it may be based in Southern California, is actually owned by Albrecht Discounts.

Where is the largest Kroger store in the US? ›

CINCINNATI -- Kroger Co. here has opened its largest store ever -- a 103,000-square-foot replacement unit in this city's upscale Oakley area.

Are Safeway and Kroger owned by the same company? ›

It took nearly a century before this rumor became reality, when Kroger announced in 2022 that it would acquire Safeway's parent company, Albertsons. In the 1930s, Kroger Grocery and Baking Company became the first grocery chain to monitor product quality and to test foods offered to customers.

Will Kroger buy Albertsons? ›

In these states, Kroger will re-banner the retained Albertsons and Safeway bannered stores following the closing of the merger. Kroger will maintain the Albertsons and Safeway banners in the remaining states.

What is Kroger discontinuing? ›

Kroger deliveries to stop in some Florida, Texas locations

Kroger delivery facilities in South Florida, along with those in Austin and San Antonio in Texas, will close on May 25, the company announced. Kroger announced in February 2023 it was opening a spoke hub in Miami.

Who is Kroger trying to buy out? ›

The Federal Trade Commission today sued to block the largest proposed supermarket merger in U.S. history—Kroger Company's $24.6 billion acquisition of the Albertsons Companies, Inc.

Who owns the majority of Kroger stock? ›

What percentage of Kroger Company (KR) stock is held by retail investors? According to the latest TipRanks data, approximately 54.51% of Kroger Company (KR) stock is held by retail investors. Vanguard owns the most shares of Kroger Company (KR).

How much does Marianos pay in Chicago? ›

How much does a Marianos make in Chicago, Illinois? As of Jun 21, 2024, the average hourly pay for a Marianos in Chicago is $18.77 an hour.

What percentage of Illinoisans live in Chicago? ›

More than half the population of the state of Illinois lives in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Who owns Mariano's Chicago? ›

Mariano's is owned by Kroger. 44 Mariano's locations exist.

What brands are owned by Kroger? ›

The Kroger Co. operates grocery retail stores under the following banners: Supermarkets – Kroger, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith's, King Soopers, Fry's, QFC, City Market, Owen's, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker's, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick 'n Save, Metro Market, Mariano's.

Is Jewel-Osco owned by Kroger? ›

Albertsons owns Jewel-Osco and Kroger owns Mariano's. Officials from the grocery giants said the stores will not close and no frontline workers will lose their jobs if the sale is finalized.

Who just bought Mariano's? ›

The parent company of Mariano's, Kroger's, has agreed to sell 14 stores in Illinois and the Mariano's name to the entity that runs Grand Union and Piggly Wiggly. Crain's breaks the deal down, as it's part of a larger $1.9 billion deal that enables Kroger to dump 413 stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers.

What grocery chain did Kroger buy? ›

26, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued to block Kroger's $24.6 billion acquisition of Albertsons, which would result in the merger of two giants in the grocery industry.

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