Jewel agrees to purchase 19 Strack & Van Til stores
Itasca-based Jewel-Osco said in a statement it will be a "stalking horse bidder" in a court-supervised sale. That means Jewel-Osco was the initial bidder that Central Grocers chose to negotiate with before the auction of its assets. The auction is expected to start June 2, assuming the bankruptcy court approves the bidding procedures.
"Our two companies share a rich history of serving customers in the Midwest as well as core beliefs in working hard to serve customers and deliver value every day on the finest quality fresh foods and local products," Jewel President Doug Cygan said in a statement.
Joliet-based Central Grocers filed for bankruptcy on May 4 and planned to lay off about 550 workers at its Joliet warehouse. Its Strack & Van Til and Ultra Food stores would stay open for business until they are sold.
The $100 million price tag for Strack & Van Til includes $70 million for the stores and the rest for assets and inventory, according to court documents. The 19 Indiana stores in the deal are in Highland, Valparaiso, Munster, Crown Point, Saint John, Lowell, Schererville, Chesterton, Cedar Lake, Rensselaer, Hobart, Whiting, Hammond, East Chicago and Portage. Two stores operate under the Town & Country Market brand.
Jewel-Osco, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Albertsons Companies, operates 186 stores in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. The acquisition, if completed, would expand the Jewel-Osco footprint further into Indiana, where it currently operates four Jewel stores.
Jewel-Osco does not expect to close any store locations as a result of the transaction, pending the outcome of the court-supervised sale process and customary regulatory approvals. A Jewel spokeswoman declined to provide further comment about the impact on the workforce and whether the Strack & Van Til or Town & Country Market names would remain.
The transaction is subject to approval from the Federal Trade Commission.