Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser to host local listening session on Kroger-Albertsons merger in Edwards |

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser to host local listening session on Kroger-Albertsons merger in Edwards

Weiser is seeking input from communities like Vail that could be impacted by merger

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser will be in Edwards on Thursday, May 4 to discuss how the proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger could impact the community, specifically the City Market and Safeway stores in West Vail.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily
IF YOU GO … What: Listening Session with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser on proposed Kroger-Albertsons Merger When: Thursday, May 4 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Where: Colorado Mountain College, Edwards Campus, Lecture Hall (150 Miller Ranch Road, Edwards) To learn more or fill out an online survey on the merger, visit

As part of a statewide tour visiting communities that would be impacted by the proposed grocery store merger between Kroger and Albertsons, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser will be stopping by the Vail area on Thursday, May 4.

The listening session will take place at the lecture hall on the Colorado Mountain College Vail Valley campus in Edwards located at 150 Miller Ranch Road.

In the fall of 2022, Kroger, which owns City Market, announced its plans to acquire Albertsons, which owns Safeway, for $24.6 billion. The deal is expected to close in early 2024 if approved by state and federal regulators.

At the time of the merger’s announcement, Weiser released a statement that he and his department would be monitoring and reviewing the proposed merger “to ensure it does not harm consumers or workers.”

“At a time of rising food prices, the possibility of undue consolidation in the grocery business raises serious concerns particularly since King Soopers and Safeway have a large footprint in Colorado,” the statement read.

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Weiser’s office is now leading a multi-state investigation into the proposed merger. This investigation is aimed at ensuring the merger does not violate antitrust laws, does not undermine competition and is fair to consumers, workers, farmers and suppliers.

As part of the investigation, Weiser has been hosting a series of listening sessions across Colorado this year to receive public comment on potential impacts.

In a guest commentary in the Denver Post, Weiser wrote that his office has heard concerns on whether local grocery stores will stay open, whether jobs are at risk, and whether it will cause food prices to rise.

“At a time of increasing consolidation in our economy, we should all be worried whether redundant supply chains are eliminated and whether suppliers have adequate options for selling their goods,” he wrote. “For farmers selling produce or entrepreneurs looking for shelf space, for example, consolidation in the grocery store industry may make it harder for them to compete. As we analyze this merger, the impact on farmers and small businesses will be top of mind.”

Could a merger impact Vail?

Across Colorado, Kroger operates 148 stores under the King Soopers and City Market brands and Albertsons operates 105 stores under the Safeway and Albertsons brands, according to the Attorney General’s website. In Eagle County, only West Vail has both a Safeway and City Market.

Russ Forrest, Vail’s town manager, said that the Town Council hasn’t had a chance to discuss or formulate any policy regarding the possible merger. With that, he is planning to attend Thursday’s session to listen, learn and see what the attorney general is asking and pondering.

Forrest’s first stint with the town was in its community development department more than 20 years ago. He added that when the City Market was first brought into West Vail, it was part of a housing project.

“When we did that (request for proposal), there were multiple goals, but one of the goals was we wanted to create diversity and we wanted to create competition with Safeway, we wanted to incentivize Safeway to upgrade and enhance itself,” Forrest said. “At the time, it achieved the goal — Safeway did a significant remodel after City Market came in. We had competition. Those were the goals then, I think the community still wants diversity in terms of food sources, good prices on groceries.”

However, “how that translates into this specific question the attorney general is asking, I think we’re planning to be there to listen,” Forrest said.

While the town has yet to discuss the potential impacts of a merger, how many grocery stores West Vail should have was a topic of discussion in the area’s master planning process. In July 2021, during a public input session on the West Vail commercial area, 71% of the attendees said they’d like to see one large, full-service grocery store and one specialty foods store, and 21% said they favored leaving the two large grocery stores.

The Vail Town Council approved the final West Vail master plan in November 2021 with three contemplated phases of implementation. The town is currently working to implement the first phase, which will pursue the plan’s housing recommendations. On Tuesday, May 2, the Vail Town Council heard a presentation on the West Vail multi-family overlay district, the plan’s first recommendation in the phase.

West Vail’s commercial center — including the Safeway and City Market stores — will be contemplated in the second phase. The plan’s recommendations for this phase include several possible scenarios for the grocery stores. In some scenarios, both remain, while in others, only one remains.

“These scenarios show one major grocery store and one specialty store. While two major stores could remain in any redevelopment, having one major and one specialty store would create variety and allow for more space dedicated to other uses. If two major stores are included, their configuration and layout should align with the goals of the plan,” reads the plan.

However, it remains to be seen what direction the redevelopment will take in the future as well as how a potential merger could impact the plan and the Vail community and West Vail commercial area.

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