retail news in context, analysis with attitude

In Washington State, the Bellingham Herald reports that US Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross signed an order on Friday approving bidding procedures for Haggen's core 33 stores in what the retailer hopes will be one block. In a statement about the auction, the company says that "the Haggen group of core stores is well run with great staff and is located in great communities. As a group they are profitable. Because of this, we know there will be strong interest in our stores as a group. Our stores are staffed and stocked to high standards and we are well prepared to offer a great store experience for our guests during this holiday time.”

According to the story, "The company will actively market the stores and can negotiate a deal with a potential buyer in what is called a stalking horse auction format. The stalking horse deal can be used to establish a baseline for the auction; other qualified bidders can then come in and offer more for the stores."

The auction is scheduled for Friday, February 5.
KC's View:
I've heard reports that, especially in the original 18 Haggen stores, that despite all the nonsense going on with the company and reports about stores being sold, the folks working in those stores were totally focused on their jobs, especially during the Thanksgiving holidays. They were greeting customers with their usual good cheer, working hard to deliver on the company's value promise, and doing all the things that they believed Haggen represented ... and that none of the financial types who drove the misguided acquisition of more than 140 stores understood or cared about.

Good for them. I hope whoever buys the stores understand that their value is greater than merchandise, greater than real estate.