Albertsons NorCal change

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SamSpade
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Albertsons NorCal change

Post by SamSpade » October 21st, 2017, 12:39 pm

Already being discussed within the northeast thread related to ACME and Safeway East, but doesn't hurt to cross-post here.
http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/busi ... 11966.html

storewanderer
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Re: Albertsons NorCal change

Post by storewanderer » October 21st, 2017, 7:29 pm

So the NorCal person who left was a Safeway person. The Eastern Division person who left was also a Safeway person.

The person they have just moved from Vons to Southwest is a Safeway person.

It seems like they are really thinning out the ranks of the Safeway people. You would have to expect store operations to start improving based on all of this attrition and the fact that the management skews heavily toward being Albertsons/Supervalu people now. At least, I hope these new people can come in and be more objective about poorly operated stores, checkout line issues, problems with the systems, and other inefficiencies that Safeway is/was plagued with.

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Re: Albertsons NorCal change

Post by pseudo3d » October 21st, 2017, 8:17 pm

storewanderer wrote:
October 21st, 2017, 7:29 pm
So the NorCal person who left was a Safeway person. The Eastern Division person who left was also a Safeway person.

The person they have just moved from Vons to Southwest is a Safeway person.

It seems like they are really thinning out the ranks of the Safeway people. You would have to expect store operations to start improving based on all of this attrition and the fact that the management skews heavily toward being Albertsons/Supervalu people now. At least, I hope these new people can come in and be more objective about poorly operated stores, checkout line issues, problems with the systems, and other inefficiencies that Safeway is/was plagued with.
Let's face it, there's a lot of "tail wagging the dog" at Albertsons/Safeway and that's really hurting the company. (Maybe if this sort of arrangement was in place during the Albertsons/American Stores era things might've worked out better, at least for NorCal, but it's a little too late for that).

I would like to think that a higher-up realized this was going on and the company is actually trying to fix it, but I feel like I'm setting myself up for disappointment.

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Re: Albertsons NorCal change

Post by storewanderer » October 21st, 2017, 11:19 pm

I think Boise is trying...

Notice that NorCal and Eastern Division were the two where there was press recently about issues with store locations... it may just be a coincidence those two Divisions just had a top management change. It will be interesting to see what happens to middle management in those Divisions now.

There was a time, 15-20 years ago, when Safeway was well run. Stores were in good shape, strong service, good pricing, strong perimeters... Better run than Albertsons was, back then. Way better than most of Kroger's stuff was though Kroger did beat them in some markets back then, like Colorado. They fell off the rail hard after the lousy IL/PA/TX acquisition conquer strategy, though the Lifestyle program covered up the major problems that were developing at Safeway to some extent for another 5-7 years. Meanwhile Albertsons dissolved, Albertsons LLC was fighting for survival and trying hard but closed so many stores they were no longer a factor in many markets but were still a factor in some neighborhoods or submarkets, Albertsons Supervalu was tanking and everyone knew it but nobody seemed to be able to fix anything, and Kroger capitalized on the situations at these two competitors quite nicely.

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Re: Albertsons NorCal change

Post by pseudo3d » October 22nd, 2017, 11:17 am

storewanderer wrote:
October 21st, 2017, 11:19 pm
I think Boise is trying...

Notice that NorCal and Eastern Division were the two where there was press recently about issues with store locations... it may just be a coincidence those two Divisions just had a top management change. It will be interesting to see what happens to middle management in those Divisions now.

There was a time, 15-20 years ago, when Safeway was well run. Stores were in good shape, strong service, good pricing, strong perimeters... Better run than Albertsons was, back then. Way better than most of Kroger's stuff was though Kroger did beat them in some markets back then, like Colorado. They fell off the rail hard after the lousy IL/PA/TX acquisition conquer strategy, though the Lifestyle program covered up the major problems that were developing at Safeway to some extent for another 5-7 years. Meanwhile Albertsons dissolved, Albertsons LLC was fighting for survival and trying hard but closed so many stores they were no longer a factor in many markets but were still a factor in some neighborhoods or submarkets, Albertsons Supervalu was tanking and everyone knew it but nobody seemed to be able to fix anything, and Kroger capitalized on the situations at these two competitors quite nicely.
Kroger also chose its acquisitions wisely and didn't immediately try to shake the boat too much. The acquisition targets of Safeway, Albertsons, and A&P did incredible damage to those companies themselves, and I really have to give Kroger credit for acquiring smaller supermarket chains and not having them immediately burst into flame.

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Re: Albertsons NorCal change

Post by Super S » October 23rd, 2017, 8:56 am

storewanderer wrote:
October 21st, 2017, 11:19 pm
I think Boise is trying...

Notice that NorCal and Eastern Division were the two where there was press recently about issues with store locations... it may just be a coincidence those two Divisions just had a top management change. It will be interesting to see what happens to middle management in those Divisions now.

There was a time, 15-20 years ago, when Safeway was well run. Stores were in good shape, strong service, good pricing, strong perimeters... Better run than Albertsons was, back then. Way better than most of Kroger's stuff was though Kroger did beat them in some markets back then, like Colorado. They fell off the rail hard after the lousy IL/PA/TX acquisition conquer strategy, though the Lifestyle program covered up the major problems that were developing at Safeway to some extent for another 5-7 years. Meanwhile Albertsons dissolved, Albertsons LLC was fighting for survival and trying hard but closed so many stores they were no longer a factor in many markets but were still a factor in some neighborhoods or submarkets, Albertsons Supervalu was tanking and everyone knew it but nobody seemed to be able to fix anything, and Kroger capitalized on the situations at these two competitors quite nicely.
15-20 years ago, Safeway actually had a reason to justify their higher prices (which varied by market, in the Pacific Northwest they have always been on the higher end) Stores were always clean, well-stocked, and well-staffed, and during busy periods they were good about having ALL checkstands open. They also had plenty of staff to carry out groceries. Today it can be difficult to find any of that. The biggest pricing gimmick they used was the coupon books, which at least was less intrusive on privacy than the club card and app gimmicks they now require.

The Safeway brand seems to be in an identity crisis right now...they are trying to hang on to the lifestyle package while hanging cheap looking lighting in some parts of the stores, and the service aspect is no better than other stores. In some instances even the low cost stores like WinCo have better service. The checkout experience at times is just as bad as Walmart.

The way the Safeway brand is being run right now doesn't differ much from the Albertsons brand, which doesn't make a good case for both brands to continue to coexist in places like Portland, not to mention Seattle which also has what's left of the Haggen brand in the picture. I honestly still expect the Albertsons name to be phased out in those markets. It reminds me of the markets where both OfficeMax and Office Depot brands still coexist.

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Re: Albertsons NorCal change

Post by pseudo3d » October 25th, 2017, 3:00 pm

Super S wrote:
October 23rd, 2017, 8:56 am
storewanderer wrote:
October 21st, 2017, 11:19 pm
I think Boise is trying...

Notice that NorCal and Eastern Division were the two where there was press recently about issues with store locations... it may just be a coincidence those two Divisions just had a top management change. It will be interesting to see what happens to middle management in those Divisions now.

There was a time, 15-20 years ago, when Safeway was well run. Stores were in good shape, strong service, good pricing, strong perimeters... Better run than Albertsons was, back then. Way better than most of Kroger's stuff was though Kroger did beat them in some markets back then, like Colorado. They fell off the rail hard after the lousy IL/PA/TX acquisition conquer strategy, though the Lifestyle program covered up the major problems that were developing at Safeway to some extent for another 5-7 years. Meanwhile Albertsons dissolved, Albertsons LLC was fighting for survival and trying hard but closed so many stores they were no longer a factor in many markets but were still a factor in some neighborhoods or submarkets, Albertsons Supervalu was tanking and everyone knew it but nobody seemed to be able to fix anything, and Kroger capitalized on the situations at these two competitors quite nicely.
15-20 years ago, Safeway actually had a reason to justify their higher prices (which varied by market, in the Pacific Northwest they have always been on the higher end) Stores were always clean, well-stocked, and well-staffed, and during busy periods they were good about having ALL checkstands open. They also had plenty of staff to carry out groceries. Today it can be difficult to find any of that. The biggest pricing gimmick they used was the coupon books, which at least was less intrusive on privacy than the club card and app gimmicks they now require.

The Safeway brand seems to be in an identity crisis right now...they are trying to hang on to the lifestyle package while hanging cheap looking lighting in some parts of the stores, and the service aspect is no better than other stores. In some instances even the low cost stores like WinCo have better service. The checkout experience at times is just as bad as Walmart.

The way the Safeway brand is being run right now doesn't differ much from the Albertsons brand, which doesn't make a good case for both brands to continue to coexist in places like Portland, not to mention Seattle which also has what's left of the Haggen brand in the picture. I honestly still expect the Albertsons name to be phased out in those markets. It reminds me of the markets where both OfficeMax and Office Depot brands still coexist.
This "identity crisis" has effectively been going on since the late 1990s and into the Lifestyle era, with Albertsons accelerating it. In the Denver division and the Seattle division, we have seen Albertsons names flip to Safeway. What really needs to happen is for Albertsons to keep the Safeway name but actually balance the merchandise mix so it thrives.

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Re: Albertsons NorCal change

Post by lola42 » December 3rd, 2017, 3:11 pm

Have there been any visible changes in operations?

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Re: Albertsons NorCal change

Post by storewanderer » December 3rd, 2017, 9:20 pm

Have not seen any real changes in operations. One store I go to seems to have implemented Steve Burd era shrink controls over meat, bakery, and deli, yet produce is overstocked (and under-rotated, lots of soft apples were sitting out there last night among other not so fresh things). Another store I go to has an overstocked perimeter and items are routinely not fresh throughout their perimeter and it is easy to find outdated bakery items they put so much out.

They have escalated many prices back up that they bragged they had cut back in September (the .49/lb bananas went first to .59/lb now back to .67/lb like before; the 1.98 dozen large Value Corner eggs went first back to 2.29 then 2.49 now 2.79, you get the idea...).

For Thanksgiving they had some pretty good deals and it was interesting how some store locations had pallets of items (such as the .99 with coupon 4lb Signature Sugar or 5lb Signature Flour) and another larger store a few miles away had no pallet displays of those and were out of stock for nearly a week.

Quality and service is real real spotty, even at the same store. The experience can be very different from one week to the next. There has been a lot of new competition in NorCal and I believe overall they are feeling it. Given their poor reputation, I think the customers love seeing new competitors open. Raleys is just such a superior operator to them, and has lower pricing. Save Mart is lost, but keeps on having stores open even very very low volume ones, but that is nothing new.

They are freely offering $50 gift cards if you take a receipt survey and give them negative feedback; I passed on that offer and asked that problems be fixed pertaining to empty perimeter areas. Nothing was fixed and that was a month or two ago. Almost felt like a bribe to not give them another negative receipt survey. This particular location has also been having its cashiers ask you to take the survey and rate them a 10 and if you have any problems they are supposed to page store management. Most of the cashiers have such an indifferent attitude that none of that last sentence is actually happening.

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Re: Albertsons NorCal change

Post by Alpha8472 » December 8th, 2017, 4:57 am

The Safeway stores in my area have increased staffing at night. There are now a few more people to restock shelves at night.
The result is less out if stock items.

The stores are also selling giant teddy bears for $79 as well as putting bikes for sale on top of the refrigerated aisles. Not kidding.

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