Northfield, News

Northfield Mariano’s one of many to be sold as part of pending merger

Company leaders say no closure or layoffs are part of the plan

The Mariano’s in Northfield is one of 31 in Chicagoland that may be sold as part of a $24.6 billion grocery merger.

Mariano’s parent group, Kroger, and Jewel-Osco parent, Albertsons, released a list of nearly 600 Mariano’s and Jewel locations nationwide that it plans to sell to C&S Wholesale Grocers in the Kroger-Albertsons merger, which has been scrutinized by federal officials.

C&S Wholesale Grocers is the parent company of another well-known grocery chain, Piggly-Wiggly.

Representatives for the grocers have said that under the divestment plan no stores will close and no frontline employees will lose their jobs. And since the deal includes the brand name Mariano’s, the Northfield store, 1822 Willow Road, likely would not change its name or signage should a merger go through.

Kroger and Albertsons originally announced a plan to merge in 2022 in a proposal that would create a conglomerate of 5,000 stores. The plan quickly gained scrutiny. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit, signed by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, to block the merger in February, calling the initial announcement to sell off 413 stores “inadequate.”

“The proposed merger between Albertsons and Kroger would greatly reduce competition in the grocery market while leading to fewer choices for consumers and increased grocery prices at a time many families are struggling to keep up,” Raoul said in a February statement. “Corporate profits and shareholder payouts should not come at the expense of consumers.”

In April, Kroger/Albertstons changed its proposal to a sell-off of 579 stores for $2.9 billion, and this week, the companies released details of the locations involved, including the Northfield store, which is listed in the release as “Winnetka.”

A majority of the Chicagoland stores involved are Mariano’s locations and also include other area stores in Skokie, Vernon Hills, Park Ridge, Northbrook and Deerfield, as well as seven Chicago locations.

It is not yet clear if the amended proposal will satisfy regulators.

“We have reached an agreement with C&S for an updated divestiture package that maintains Kroger’s commitments to customers, associates and communities, addresses concerns raised by regulators, and will further ensure that C&S can successfully operate the divested stores as they are operated today,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s Chairman and CEO. “Importantly, the updated divestiture plan continues to ensure no stores will close as a result of the merger and that all frontline associates will remain employed, all existing collective bargaining agreements will continue, and associates will continue to receive industry-leading health care and pension benefits alongside bargained-for wages. Our proposed merger with Albertsons will bring lower prices and more choices to more customers and secure the long-term future of unionized grocery jobs.”

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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