Haggen auction for Whatcom County stores delayed for the third time

By Oliver Lazenby

The auction for Haggen’s last remaining and most profitable stores has once again been pushed back, this time until Friday, March 11, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware last week.

The auction is scheduled for 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time at the law offices of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in Manhattan. Bellingham-based Haggen is expected to auction 33 locations, including all five Whatcom County stores and its Bellingham pharmacy.

This is the third time the auction has been delayed. It was originally scheduled for January 8, before being pushed back to February 11 and then to February 22.

Court filings didn’t indicate a reason for the delay. Haggen said in court documents filed last year that the stores are profitable and could attract a lot of interest.

The delays could allow potential bidders more time to perform due diligence on the stores.

The delayed auction will finally happen more than six months after the Bellingham-based grocer filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The company’s troubles started early last year after it bought 146 stores from Albertsons, which sold the stores to get Federal Trade Commission approval for its merger with Safeway.

Haggen went from owning 18 stores in Washington and Oregon to 164 in five West Coast states. The company immediately ran into problems in its new markets and declared bankruptcy on September 8, 2015.

Haggen has already sold or closed many of the stores. Albertsons re-purchased more than 30 of them in a November auction.

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