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Mayes joins lawsuit against Kroger and Albertsons merger

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(The Center Square) – Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes is part of a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission in opposition to grocery store chains Kroger and Albertsons merging.

The consortium are worried that the chains merging would raise prices for consumers nationwide. Kroger is the largest grocery store chain in the country besides Walmart, with Albertsons not far behind, according to FoodIndustry.com. They are two of the largest employers in the state with roughly 35,000 workers, according to the Attorney General’s office.

To prepare for the merger, the companies made news in September for selling 413 stores if the merger is cleared, according to the New York Times.

“Many Arizonans I heard from voiced concerns about potential job losses from combining the two companies. Seniors on fixed incomes told me they were worried that grocery prices would only go up if the merger went through,” Mayes said. “Military families I spoke to feared their insurance would not be accepted at the pharmacy of a newly merged company. Rural Arizonans, in particular, raised serious concerns about how a merger would exacerbate existing food deserts.”

Mayes traveled around the state to hold discussions on the possible benefits and consequences of a merger, saying there were concerns from both “rural and urban communities alike.”

“Bottom line: this merger will benefit the shareholders of these companies, not regular Arizonans,” she added.

However, Kroger argues that coming together with Albertsons would be beneficial for shoppers. The company stated that its business model focuses on lowering prices and will be “immediately applied to merger companies.”

“The FTC’s decision makes it more likely that America’s consumers will see higher food prices and fewer grocery stores at a time when communities across the country are already facing high inflation and food deserts,” Kroger said in a statement on Monday. “In fact, this decision only strengthens larger, non-unionized retailers like Walmart, Costco and Amazon by allowing them to further increase their overwhelming and growing dominance of the grocery industry.”

In Arizona, there are 30 Albertsons locations and 127 Fry’s Food Stores, which is part of Kroger. Seven other states and Washington D.C. are part of the lawsuit, CNBC reported, including Wyoming, which has a Republican attorney general.

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