The ever changing grocery store landscape in New Jersey is going to have another shift as Acme Markets has agreed to buy 27 Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s Food Lover’s Markets for $96.4 million in cash under a bankruptcy auction, according to Supermarket News.

Kings, based in Parsippany, operates 25 stores, 23 of which are in New Jersey, including locations in Bedminster, Bernardsville, Boonton, Chatham, Mendham, Morristown, Summit, and Warren. Acme Markets operates 164 stores on the East Coast and is owned by Albertson’s, America’s second largest grocery store operator.

Balducci’s has nine gourmet stores, none currently in New Jersey. Albertson’s, in turn, has over twenty different brands of grocery stores, such as Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw's, Star Market, United Supermarkets, Market Street, Haggen, Lucky, Amigos and Andronico’s.

In a statement, a spokesman for Albertson’s said, “We are excited to add these two premium, gourmet banners to our East Coast operations and plan to continue to operate the stores as Kings Food Market and Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market, respectively.”

Plans call for the upscale Kings and Balducci’s grocery stores to retain their banners and become part of Albertsons’ Mid-Atlantic division, which operates Acme and Safeway supermarkets on the East Coast. Acme increased its footprint in New Jersey several years ago by buying A&P stores that had gone under. KB Holdings, King’s parent company, filed for bankruptcy protection in August. There has been increasing competition for grocery stores in New Jersey, with Aldi, Lidl, and Trader Joe’s all expanding recently in the state.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.