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Haggen to auction off remaining Oregon stores next year

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - An Albertsons supermarket is converted to Haggen earlier this year. Haggen plans to auction off its remaining stores in early 2016 as part of bankruptcy proceedings.Haggen has been given the go ahead to sell off its remaining Oregon stores, including its only remaining Washington County location on Southwest Barrows Road.

A bankruptcy judge in Delaware gave the company the OK late last week to put the rest of its stores — 33 supermarkets across Oregon and Washington — on the auction block in early 2016.

Haggen is scheduled to hold the auction on Feb. 5. The order was finalized Friday as part of the company’s bankruptcy proceedings, the company said.

The announcement comes less than a month after Haggen closed down and auctioned off the majority of its stores.

The company auctioned off its Beaverton location on Southwest Hall Boulevard to an Asian supermarket chain, but it’s Tualatin, Sherwood and one Tigard location failed to secure bidders.

Haggen still operates a handful of Oregon stores, most in Clackamas County and Eugene. Its lone Washington County store is located at 14300 S.W. Barrows Road, in Tigard near the Beaverton border.

The 33 remaining stores are considered “core stores” by the company, said Deborah Pleva, a spokeswoman with Haggen. Pleva said she expects the remaining stores to be sold off together as a group.

“The Haggen group of core stores is well run with great staff and is located in great communities,” she said in a written statement. “As a group they are profitable. Because of this, we know there will be strong interest in our stores as a group. Our stores are staffed and stocked to high standards and we are well prepared to offer a great store experience for our guests during this holiday time!”

Haggen could bid on its own stores

It’s the latest in a public downfall after Haggen exploded in size earlier this year, growing from 18 stores in the Pacific Northwest to 164 across five states. But the rollout was far from smooth. Albertsons sued Haggen, saying it owed the company millions for unpaid stores. Haggen, in turn, filed a $1 billion countersuit against Albertsons, claiming the company lied to Haggen when it sold the stores.

Haggen filed for bankruptcy in September and began closing its less profitable stores, including its longtime store in Tualatin.

The company proposed February’s auction to the bankruptcy court last month and originally set it for January. According to Haggen, the store is required by its lenders to explore outside opportunities for its stores, including the nearly three-dozen “core stores” it hasn’t closed.

But February’s auction doesn’t mean that the Haggen name will necessarily be going away entirely. One of the bidders in February’s auction could be Haggen itself. Florida investment firm Comvest Group has owned Haggen since 2011 and could enter the auction to purchase some or all of the stores.

If Comvest isn’t the winning bidder, whoever buys the stores could decide to keep the Haggen brand alive. Haggen is well established in Washington and has operated stores in Oregon for several years.

The deadline for bids is Jan. 29, 2016.