The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

24 January 2006

No, it's your store

This could get complicated. Albertsons, which had been looking for a buyer for its grocery chain, got three: rival SuperValu will buy most of the grocery stores, CVS will acquire standalone Sav-on drug stores, and 655 stores in the West, including Oklahoma, will go to an investment group led by Cerberus Capital Management.

The divestiture of the Western stores has suggested to some analysts that Cerberus and friends aren't interested in the grocery business, particularly; they just want the real-estate properties that come with the stores. Cerberus begs to differ:

Cerberus' business is taking underperforming assets and making them perform. They have a pretty good track record of doing that, and that's the commitment with Albertsons. Our plans are to operate the stores under the Albertsons name. We will maintain the same benefits plans and programs for all employees.

SuperValu already owns the Sav-A-Lot stores in the state; it could simply be that they didn't want to run two chains side by side.

In Boise, headquarters of the Albertsons chain, the outlook might be less rosy:

The Big Promise made by Albertson's CEO-of-the-moment, Larry Johnston:

"We are also pleased that in addition to maintaining a presence in each banner's headquarter city (Jewel-Chicago, Acme-Philadelphia, Shaws-Boston, Albertsons-Los Angeles), SUPERVALU has stated that it intends also to maintain an important presence in Boise, Idaho for the foreseeable future."

[W]ould anyone care to wager on the exact duration of "the foreseeable future"?

Not me. I can't see that far.

I am a regular Albertson's shopper — have been for a few years — but I'm not emotionally wedded to the place.

Posted at 10:00 AM to Dyssynergy

TrackBack: 10:35 AM, 24 January 2006
» Sold and Sundered from Jotzel
Charles Hill reports on the slightly convoluted sale of Albertsons and its associated properties. Here's the article. Charles notes that some thing Cerberus is in it for the real estate. That's certainly a way to unlock increased value not r......[read more]

I hope they don't close stores. The closest grocery store to my house is an Albertson's. If they close it, the closest store will be a Buy-For-Less, and I hate shopping there.

After that there's the Walmart super center.

Posted by: Bobbert at 10:15 AM on 24 January 2006

In my erstwhile hometown Sacramento (and, of course, most of California and parts of Nevada), Albertson's had bought out the Lucky supermarket chain a few years back, which ticked me off somewhat -- I'd been a confirmed Lucky shopper for decades before moving away. Albertson's, I didn't so much care for. I guess the luck ran out.

Posted by: McGehee at 11:00 AM on 24 January 2006

Here in the Big Breezy, the 800-lb gorilla is from Arkansas, and he controls around 48 percent of the local market.

I'm three miles and a fraction from Albertsons; the nearest store to me is derided by coworkers on this side of town as "the grocery that time forgot." Its pickings tend to be slim; on the other hand, they occasionally have unfrosted blueberry Pop-Tarts®.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:20 AM on 24 January 2006

The structure of the deal is driven primarily by antitrust concerns. Cerberus may well be on the level when they say they intend to run the stores -- selling the stores to SuperValu when it already had Sav-a-Lot stores in the market might have scuttled the deal. Concerns raised by fed. regulators about such side-by-side operations in the Chicago area market scotched this deal the first time, when Supervalu was the only player.

Posted by: KLeggott at 1:31 PM on 24 January 2006

Here in Stillwater, Albertsons has morphed into the well-stocked-yet-slightly-expensive store, up against the super walmart. We tend to shop at the walmart only for large trips (to save money), and smaller trips at the local-owned Consumer's IGA. Its prices are usually the same if not cheaper than Albertson's, sometimes the same as Walmart (depends on the sales that week), and while its stock has less variety, it's all pretty good stuff. We used to have a Buy-4-Less or something and then a Food-4-Less, but both were scary places to shop and were subsequently driven out of business by the big W.

Posted by: Jennifer at 5:43 PM on 24 January 2006

I'm all for fewer kewl grocery store spellings with numbers in them. Whatever that means for Albertson's, I'm good with.

The Albertson's in Edmond is just OK - nothing special. Although their selection is pretty good on lots of stuff that SuperTarget inexplicably does not have.

Posted by: Dan at 5:56 PM on 24 January 2006

I suspect that if Albertson's goes, I'll throw my business to the Big Bullseye; there's a just-short-of-Super Target just up the street.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:57 AM on 25 January 2006

Of course your closest store is Mayfair Market which in some carnation or other has been a grocery store there forever.

As a previous commenter stated Super Target inexplicably doesn't have many things I buy. I wish they did!
The very same one you mention is closer to me than the Belle Isle SuperCenter but that is where I would go if I were you for one stop shopping.

Posted by: ms7168 at 11:22 AM on 25 January 2006