KEENE, N.H. — C&S Wholesale Grocers, LLC, (C&S) an industry leader in wholesale grocery supply and supply chain solutions in the United States, has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase 413 stores, eight distribution centers and two offices that have become available due to The Kroger Co. and Albertsons Companies Inc. merger. C&S will acquire QFC, Mariano’s and Carrs brand names and the exclusive licensing rights to the Albertsons brand name in Arizona, California, Colorado and Wyoming. C&S will also add five private labels to their current brand portfolio. 1918 Winter Street Partners, an affiliate of C&S Wholesale Grocers, will operate these stores.
“With more than 104 years in the rapidly changing grocery industry, the foundation of C&S’s success has been our ability to innovate. Our fast-paced industry challenges us to continue to think differently about our business model and how we meet the needs of our consumers, employees and communities — now and for generations to come,” said Rick Cohen, Executive Chairman, C&S Wholesale Grocers.
These stores will be supported by C&S’s best-in-class capabilities. The agreement is set to close in early 2024, subject to regulatory clearance and customary closing conditions. C&S will continue to recognize the union workforce and maintain all collective bargaining agreements, and is committed to retaining frontline employees and further investing for growth.
“This is another exciting opportunity for C&S to expand into the retail market, which is an important component of our long-term growth. We have a strong foundation of retail experience with our Piggly Wiggly® franchise and corporate-owned stores in the Midwest and Carolinas and the reopening of our iconic Grand Union — totaling more than 160 retail locations — all of which demonstrate C&S’s ability to deliver solid retail performance,” said Eric Winn, Chief Operating Officer and designated Chief Executive Officer (effective October 2), C&S Wholesale Grocers. “This will also further enhance C&S’s ability to serve our customers as we will be in a unique position as a leading wholesale supplier and retailer to help grow their business and continue our legacy of braggingly happy customers.”
“C&S is invested in the communities where we live and work. Our retail locations are a critical resource not only for necessities but also as an integral part of the local area they serve. We look forward to welcoming our new employees into the C&S family of companies and leveraging C&S’s strong heritage of selection, value and customer service to continue our mission of keeping our communities fed,” said Mark McGowan, President, Retail, C&S Wholesale Grocers.
C&S brings extensive experience with the merger process, having been an FTC approved divestiture buyer in prior grocery transactions with a strong track record of transitioning union employees and their associated collective bargaining agreements successfully.
Centerview Partners served as exclusive financial advisor and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP as legal advisor to C&S Wholesale Grocers.
About C&S Wholesale Grocers, LLC:
C&S Wholesale Grocers, LLC is an industry leader in supply chain solutions and wholesale grocery supply in the United States. Founded in 1918 as a supplier to independent grocery stores, C&S now services customers of all sizes, supplying more than 7,500 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases and institutions with over 100,000 different products. We are an engaged corporate citizen, supporting causes that positively impact our communities. To learn more, please visit www.cswg.com.