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Bankruptcy court OKs Haggen sale

Barrows Road employees will keep jobs at store, company says.

FILE PHOTO - Less than a year after Haggen took the Oregon supermarket scene by storm, it's agreed to sell off its last remaining stores back to Albertsons.A U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware has approved a plan that could see the Tigard Haggen supermarket revert back to its former Albertsons brand name along with 28 other Haggen stores across the Northwest.

The grocery store, located at 14300 S.W. Barrows Road, is the last remaining Haggen supermarket in Washington County, after the chain shuttered its longtime Tualatin store and several other stores in Tigard, Sherwood and Beaverton, following a massive expansion last year.

The Federal Trade Commission approved a plan this month that allowed Albertsons to purchase the remaining Haggen stores for $106 million, but needed the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to sign off on the deal.

The deal will allow Haggen workers to keep their jobs as they transition back into Albertsons, according to the company.

According to the court’s ruling, the Barrows Road store will need to reach an agreement with its landlord before it reverts back to the Albertsons brand.

According to Albertsons, Haggen’s stores in Oregon City, West Linn and Happy Valley will close their doors next month, while 15 other stores near Haggen's Bellingham headquarters will keep their Haggen brand name.

How did we get here?

The Tualatin Haggen was one of the first Oregon stores to close its doors, after the Northwest grocer failed to find a footing in Oregon and the Southwest U.S.The Federal Trade Commission ordered Albertsons to sell off more than 100 stores across the country last year after it merged with Safeway.

Those stores the were sold to Haggen, a small Northwest grocer which transformed into one of the largest supermarket chains on the West Coast practically overnight.

But Haggen, which is owned by a Florida private equity firm, failed to gain a foothold in the unfamiliar territory of America’s Southwest, and quickly shuttered stores in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada.

The transition was far from smooth.

Albertsons filed a $41 million lawsuit against Haggen, claiming the Northwest grocer has failed to pay for several stores it purchased from the company.

Haggen, in turn, filed a $1 billion countersuit, alleging Albertsons conned Haggen into purchasing dozens of stores, then set the table for those stores to fail.

Haggen claimed Albertsons ran strategically timed ad campaigns to steal away customers, and lied about its pricing information, resulting in unhappy customers who complained that prices skyrocketed after Haggen took over.

Albertsons agreed to pay Haggen $5.75 million in a settlement.

In September, Haggen filed for bankruptcy and shuttered many of its stores, including its Tualatin, Tigard, Beaverton and Sherwood locations.

With the bankruptcy court's ruling, Albertsons will be stronger than ever, controlling more stores than it did before selling stores to Haggen.

In a statement to the media, Haggen said that it was looking to the future.

"We are excited about the opportunity to have the backing of Albertsons and look forward to be part of the Albertsons grocery family," said Haggen Chief Executive Officer John Clougher. "Haggen has been a part of the Pacific Northwest and the Bellingham community for more than eight decades and we will continue the traditions of operating great Haggen stores focused on community involvement, fresh northwest products and great service."