Safeway Mid-Atlantic Remodels

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storewanderer
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Safeway Mid-Atlantic Remodels

Post by storewanderer » May 12th, 2019, 12:19 am

How many stores in Mid Atlantic has Safeway remodeled in the past couple years?

I went to one store in Arlington in Rosslyn area that appeared to have just been remodeled. I guess this is known as the "Underground Safeway." It has good signs from the road and windows from the sidewalk where you can see directly down into bakery/deli (or outside, if you are in the store). Kind of felt like a store in a daylight basement. What is interesting about this one is it never had a Lifestyle remodel but rather it used to have the mid 90's Safeway decor and now has a super cheap/super basic version of the Florida interior with cement floors. This seems to be a pretty well off area and I really wonder why it never got a Lifestyle remodel.

The store wasn't very busy when I was there (Target across the street had quite a few more people in its grocery area) and overall something just felt "off" about the place. They also had tons of clearance merchandise for such a small store displayed in multiple different places around the perimeter (those infamous Safeway 50% off stickers on packages) and I have no clue why there was so much of it in this store, if they get a lot of mis-ships or what.

As far as the odd vibe of the store, I'm not sure if it was just the lack of customers or what. It looks nice enough; modern, fresh areas were full and well presented (yet deserted). The large self serve hot bar island had little more than an amazing variety of chicken wings, potato wedges, macaroni and cheese, etc. plus they had more hot fried chicken at the service case. I know this is not Whole Foods but I think they could do better. I couldn't get past how this store just has an odd vibe to it.

Also the "buy one get one free" promotions at 2 or more times regular retail prices... really? 16oz Signature Rubbing Alcohol with a regular retail of 4.39 on that promotion, or the small Hydrogen Peroxide at 1.99 on that promotion? Entire drug/GM category on private label had prices like this that were basically double what anywhere else would charge. 7.99/lb for Signature Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Tenders on that promotion? Albertsons really needs to stop this practice across the divisions that are doing it because the customer is not this stupid.

Overall Safeway seems to be one of the weaker operators in DC Metro. Pricing is absolutely terrible. I suppose Shoppers and Food Lion could be considered weaker, but that isn't saying much. Wegmans, Giant, and Harris Teeter are running many circles around Safeway and doing it at lower prices too.

I am curious what the future is going to hold for Safeway Mid Atlantic. They are closing a lot more stores than they are opening... and this seems to be a market where a lot of competitors are opening.

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Re: Safeway Mid-Atlantic Remodels

Post by BatteryMill » May 12th, 2019, 4:49 pm

Ah, I remember that one- quite an interesting story isn't it? Was nice to see a store like that and it's beneficial that it got some investment. However, it seems that Safeway's new decor package is more the same grayscale/faux wood/concrete floor stuff common in retail over the past few years. It's modern and all but alas someone's gotta break from it.

From what I know a Safeway in Crofton, MD remodeled recently. It's close to a large shopping center with Wegmans so that likely prompted some change. There were also a few stores opened here and there but that's all I know of. The rest is sticking with Lifestyle, which still looks good by today's standards but is a little bland. I think Safeway should aspire to make a more modern version of that one.

From my last Safeway experience, the store gave off a cheap atmosphere - a decline from the days when they were still independent. Along with the mediocre lighting scheme most of the advertisements and price tags were cheap, flashy stuff from Albertsons. Definitely not a good sign from them.

They've been here longer than Giant-MD has been in existence, but with the saturation in the market they're losing out. As I've said in my previous thread Food Lion seems to be hanging on by a thread with their former Bloom/Bottom Dollar stores. They're just not getting the same attention that their stores in lower VA and NC are. Otherwise Shoppers, you know how SuperValu has been to the chain lately.
I assume they'll stick around since they're an established name and nothing too bad is going on with them, but it's likely they'll contract for a while before they figure things out.

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Re: Safeway Mid-Atlantic Remodels

Post by storewanderer » May 13th, 2019, 9:07 pm

I think once Shoppers and Food Lion disappear from DC, Safeway is going to be the next form of low hanging fruit to disappear. I fully expect Food Lion to disappear or convert to the Giant banner in DC. Look at all those new Harris Teeter Stores around DC the past 10-15 years and you figure a lot of those could have/should have been new Safeway Stores but somehow Harris Teeter managed to elbow their way in.

Now this could change as Kroger has Harris Teeter and if Kroger starts to treat Harris Teeter the way they have treated Ralphs and Fred Meyer out west in regards to new stores (what new stores...?), there may be some opportunities. But I think Safeway is not exactly at the top of anyone's list for "what store do you want to come to the bottom of this high rise" back there in DC. People are asking for Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Wegmans, Harris Teeter. Safeway isn't even on the radar.

Add Publix and/or Shop Rite into the mix and the situation will only get worse for Safeway. Competition hitting DC from north and south. No room for a marginal operator with lower volume stores than the others and a lousy reputation among shoppers. I was surprised how much better the Acme I went to up in DE was, than the DC/VA Safeways I went into. Acme had better mix throughout the store and better pricing.

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Re: Safeway Mid-Atlantic Remodels

Post by mbz321 » May 14th, 2019, 8:19 am

storewanderer wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 9:07 pm
I was surprised how much better the Acme I went to up in DE was, than the DC/VA Safeways I went into. Acme had better mix throughout the store and better pricing.
That's pretty shocking, as Acme further into the Philly area has awful Safeway-esque pricing..they continue to lose a lot of market share. I think their stores in rural Delaware/MD do well though just as there isn't much in the way of competition (although Redner's has expanded in the area--bland, barebones stores, but much lower prices, and a Food Lion or two).

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Re: Safeway Mid-Atlantic Remodels

Post by storewanderer » May 14th, 2019, 8:06 pm

By no means is Acme's pricing good (was a lot higher than the Shop Rite I went into), but it is lower than Safeway and seemed to have more/better specials. They also were not playing as many games with "buy one get one free" promotions where the first one had a price 2x higher than an already high price, as the mid-atlantic Safeway was in various parts of the store.

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Re: Safeway Mid-Atlantic Remodels

Post by buckguy » May 15th, 2019, 1:38 pm

Interesting that they remodeled the Rosslyn store. I wondered if it would survive as it hadn't super busy the couple times I was there. It also has an awkward layout. I don't recall all the specifics but it was clearly merchandised in an odd way when I was there before, perhaps reflecting their local clientele--I remember a lot of sodas, beer, etc. Safeway has been rather poky in the DC area--they have opened some new, rather impressive stores---replacements in SW DC and Bethesda, and a large new store in Rockville, but they don't seem to have a real direction. Giant has been trying to win people back with some upgrades to their house brand and more competitive pricing in some areas. Still, Safeway has stores that still pull good volumes even with a lot of competition. They're not clearly dying on the vine like Shopper's. I don't really understand the survival of Harris-Teeter---the stores I've visited, all in different places, never seem to have much volume and they don't seem to remodel them very often. The pricing is ridiculous and the fresh foods always look better than the reality.

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