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Haggen to close Tualatin supermarket, other closures expected

Chain to close 27 stores across country, says Tualatin store didn't meet financial targets.

Haggen plans to close dozens of stores across the country over the next 60 days, including its Tualatin locationLess than a year after opening more than 100 new stores across the country, Haggen Food & Pharmacy announced it will be closing several of them, including its longrunning store in Tualatin.

In a statement released Friday, Aug. 14, the company said that it would be shutting down 27 supermarket locations in Arizona, California, Nevada, Washington and Oregon over the next 60 days, including Haggen’s Tualatin location, located on Southwest Tualatin-Sherwood Road.

Haggen said that additional stores will be sold or closed in the near future, but declined to say which locations. Haggen operates 10 stores in the Portland area. The closures are expected to be announced within the next few months.

Haggen has operated a store in Tualatin for years. Deborah Pleva, a spokeswoman for Haggen, said that the company was evaluating all of its stores, not just its newly acquired locations.

It’s unclear how many total jobs will be affected as a result of the closures. The Tualatin store currently employs 73 employees, according to the company.

"We are working to place associates impacted by this closures where we have openings as per the collective bargaining agreements that are in place," Pleva told The Times in an email.

In its announcement, Haggen said that the closures were meant to “improve its business and strengthen its competitive position.”

“Haggen’s goal going forward is to ensure a stable, healthy company that will benefit our customers, associates, vendors, creditors, stakeholders as well as the communities we serve,” said Bill Shaner, Haggen’s CEO for the Pacific Southwest. “By making the tough choice to close and sell some stores, we will be able to invest in stores that have the potential to thrive under the Haggen banner.”

It's a very different tune than a year ago, when the small Northwest grocery chain announced that it would become one of the largest grocers on the West Coast.

The company purched 146 stores as part of the Albertsons-Safeway merger last year. The two supermarket giants were told to sell off stores as part of its merger, including Albertsons locations in Tigard, Beaverton and Sherwood, which Haggen re-opened a few months ago.

The company exploded from 18 stores to 164 stores across the western half of America and quintupled its staff to more than 10,000 employees.

But the company has struggled to gain a following, especially in the Southwest, where Haggen cut hours and laid off staff as the stores struggled to draw in customers.

Last month, Albertsons filed a lawsuit against Haggen, saying that the grocer owed more than $36 million after it failed to pay for 38 stores.

Pleva said that Haggen could not comment about whether or not the closures were related to the recent litigation.

While some have argued that Haggen grew too big, too quickly to be able to handle 164 stores across several states, Pleva said that the decision came after certain stores failed to perform.

"We strive to ensure the success of all our stores, however, it’s necessary for us to close stores that are not meeting our financial targets," Pleva said. "Because the decision to close a store has a tremendous impact on our associates and customers, that determination is made only after much deliberation. Haggen will continue to evaluate its operations to identify opportunities to strengthen its overall business. While the decision to close a store is always difficult—given the impact on associates and customers—it is guided by what is best for the company’s future success."

The move cuts the number of supermarkets in Tualatin to only two, Fred Meyer and New Seaons Market are located near the Tualatin exit of Interstate 5. The next closest stores are in Sherwood or Bridgeport Village.

No final day has been set for the Tualatin store, but the store is expected to close within the next two months.

“Looking ahead, we will work hard every single day to earn the trust and business of our guests," wrote John Clougher, Haggen’s CEO of the Pacific Northwest. "We will continue to support community events and donate to schools. We will offer our customers the freshest and most local products we can find and the genuine service they deserve. And we will engage in lively discussions about how we can improve. We will remain actively involved in making our communities even better, and we will stay committed to the values that have always guided Haggen.”

By Geoff Pursinger
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