Safeway Grocery Stores Merge with Albertsons
No doubt you’ve heard the grocery store news by now. Safeway will be merging with Albertsons grocery stores. The deal was final on March 6 although the real changes won’t be in place until the 4th quarter (end) of this year.
The coming together of two of the largest grocery chains in the country will create a network of 2,400 stores, 27 distribution facilities, and 20 manufacturing plants with more than 250,000 employees. At that point, it will be larger than Kroger, who owns City Market. There are initial promises of no store closures. In fact, initial reports state that if the proposed merger succeeds, it would not involve any store closures, changes to the Safeway name or to the Safeway Rewards program.
As you can imagine this news has lit up the social media platforms with lots of speculation about what this will mean for the consumer. The topics range from “sister” stores merging in larger markets, thus eliminating jobs, to matters concerning competitive pricing and better selection for the shopper.
But what about Lake County? How will this really affect Leadville? Most locals already gripe about the lack of competition which results in high prices and all around lousy selection when it comes to grocery needs. And since approximately 60% of Lake County residents reportedly travel over to neighboring resorts for work, where grocery selection and quality are more readily available, some wonder whether the merger will matter at all to Leadville shoppers.
The current CEO and president of Safeway, Robert Edwards, who will also be the CEO and president of the combined company, talked about the issue during an investor call on March 6 when the announcement was made.
“I think that clearly our use of data is very key to our loyalty programs and the success we have had there,” said Roberts. “We have to operate independently until the closing, and we are — currently anticipated that will be in the fourth quarter of this year.”
“No decisions yet on how the combined company might operate going forward,” Roberts added. “Lots of issues to think about, including loyalty and many others. But it’s a significant strength of Safeway currently.”
So like most of these high-powered corporate partnerships when it comes to the little guy, it’s always smart, to hope for the best and expect the worst!