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Senators and union members question Kroger’s CEO on how a merger could impact consumers

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Tuesday, senators, grocery store executives, and union members all gathered at Capitol Hill to discuss the proposed merger of Kroger and Albertsons.

Union members and some senators voiced their opposition to the merger, claiming it will eliminate competition and drive up the prices of products for consumers. Kroger and Albertsons CEOs argued the opposite, that a merger will facilitate a culmination of resources, thus enabling the grocery store chains to generate greater competition between companies like Walmart and Amazon.

Colorado Springs economist Tatiana Bailey said the merger could create an oligopoly in the market.

"What you have with oligopolies, is only a few major players," said Bailey. "They can just watch each other's prices. So, if one of those players increases prices, usually the other one or two players do the same thing."

Bailey said the merger could put pressure on families that are already struggling under the weight of inflation.

"You know, with a very common tendency of monopolies increasing prices because they can get away with it on top of inflation," said Bailey, "that's just going to squeeze the budget of the average household you know that much more."

Beyond that, Kroger stated they will close around 400 stores if the merger is carried out. Workers like Colorado Springs Safeway florist Claudia Morales worry their jobs will be the ones taken away.

"We are here to serve our communities," said Morales. "And it really, just not being able to continue to do that for me would be heartbreaking."

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Annabelle Childers

Annabelle is a reporter for KRDO

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