BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) - The small grocery chain Haggen is suing Albertsons for more than $1 billion, alleging the supermarket giant engaged in efforts to eliminate it as a viable competitor in five states.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Delaware, accuses Albertsons of anti-competitive practices. Haggen, based in Bellingham, Washington, says it was forced to lay off hundreds and close nearly a fifth of the stores it had acquired from Albertsons and Safeway. The Seattle Times says that earlier this year Haggen bought 146 Albertsons and Safeway stores, expanding into California, Nevada and Arizona.

It had previously operated in Oregon and Washington. Haggen alleges Albertsons hamstringed its ability to operate those stores. It also says Albertsons gave it misleading and incomplete retail pricing data and illegally accessed Haggen's confidential data. In an emailed statement, Albertsons spokesman Brian Dowling says "the allegations in the lawsuit are completely without merit."