I really think Kroger was on the road to literally creaming them up until about four years ago when Kroger started to centralize everything and the operation of the various Kroger Divisions out west really started to get noticeably worse and quality of fresh departments took a serious nosedive (after getting noticeably better for many years).klkla wrote: ↑May 26th, 2021, 10:49 pm Unique store interiors? Maybe recently. They used one variation with a lot of yellow, orange and wood paneling for 20 years. That was followed by a horrible design with gray everything for many years. New and interesting interiors are a fairly recent development for this company. But I haven't seen anything that was groundbreaking. Just variations of existing designs in the industry.
I agree their service quality is better than Kroger, but that's a pretty low bar. There are many grocery companies that have far better service than Albertsons and Kroger.
They came pretty close to becoming a KMart-like disaster when they dissolved the original company and sold if off in pieces to SuperValu, CVS and Cerberus Capital Management. The latter is responsible for the success of the current company.
More recently Albertsons has added labor to the stores, improved promotions, improved merchandising, better developed its online offer most notably ending the old Safeway policy of higher prices online than in-store (not clear if they did this in every market), and seems to be putting out a much stronger fight on price than they used to (again this does not seem to be happening in every market though).
Neither chain really does what a superior regional like Hy-Vee, a superior small family chain like Harmon's in Utah, or the niche chains like Trader Joe's does, but at this point in time I find myself much more satisfied with the Albertsons/Safeway operation than Kroger on quality, store operation, and even pricing. And I can't believe I have reached that point.
Fred Meyer still seems to run a higher quality operation than Ralphs or QFC which are frankly awful on quality for the prices they charge and service they offer, and Smiths tries hard at the local level in Reno area but seems to be given a lot of lousy fresh product to work with and trouble staying in-stock.
But I find Albertsons/Safeway to pretty consistently run a quality produce, bakery, and deli operation up and down the west coast. Center store is stocked pretty well since the pricing isn't great and they seem to do a decent job having overstock on sale items. There are some variances by region but generally speaking they run with quality product.