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How private equity loots the grocery industry.


Groceries, as with retail in general, typically own their own real estate, so you always have the possibility of selling off the real estate and pocketing the money. They generally have low debt - you buy a company with low debt and you're able to add lots more debt to it. And they have high cash flow - so you can always put your hand in the till and take out a dividend. These are the three things that have made retail and groceries so attractive to private equity.

Eileen Appelbaum and Rosemary Batt explain how private equity builds fortunes destroying profitable regional grocery store chains - by loading the companies they buy with unsustainable debt levels that cripple investment and wages, extracting millions of dollars for investors, and abandoning the company and its workers.

Eileen and Rosemary wrote the report Private Equity Pillage: Grocery Stores and Workers At Risk for The American Prospect, reposted at CEPR.

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Eileen Appelbaum

Eileen Appelbaum is Co-Director at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.



Rosemary Batt

Rosemary Batt is the Alice Hanson Cook Professor of Women and Work at the ILR School, Cornell University.


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