American Stores Co. says California consumers will see lower prices - as much as $50 million to $60 million annually - immediately following the merger of Lucky Stores Inc. and American's Alpha Beta unit.

Responding to California Attorney General John K. Van De Kamp's comments to the Federal Trade Commission concerning acquisition of Lucky Stores by American Stores, company officials said they agree with the attorney general's concern that food prices be kept low for California consumers.American Stores said its plans call for adoption of Lucky's everyday low pricing strategy and immediate price reductions in the Alpha Beta stores following FTC approval of the merger. "These actions will save California consumers in excess of $1 million every week," a spokesman said.

American Stores chairman L.S. Skaggs said he intends to operate the Alpha Beta stores under the Lucky name, using Lucky's business philosophy, which includes its everyday low price strategy.

American Stores Co. said it is making rapid progress in complying with the terms of the FTC proposed consent order and has entered into agreements to sell 30 of the 37 Lucky and Alpha Beta stores throughout California. On June 22, American announced an agreement to sell 15 stores in northern and Southern California to Certified Grocers, Los Angeles.

On July 29, an agreement was signed with Market Wholesale Grocery Co., a division of Provigo Company of Canada, to sell an additional 15 stores in Northern California.