Albertsons announces strategic review of company

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Re: Albertsons announces strategic review of company

Post by BatteryMill »

marketreportblog wrote: July 10th, 2022, 8:12 pm Not sure if this is the place for it, but how's Albertsons doing in other regions of the country? I'm just curious what's going on in other divisions that I don't get to observe on the ground all the time.

I'm in northern New Jersey, and the very rapid renovations that were sweeping through the ACME chain in 2020-21 are all but done. As far as I can tell, there are no renovations going on currently and very few in the last six months or so. There are only a handful of ACMEs without Quality Built (or Heritage, as I see it more frequently called on here), but those don't seem to be getting much attention. There are also a few that have gotten the renovation, but are still very old stores. They end up having beat-up refrigerators, scratched floors, burnt out lights, and poorly repurposed displays (like a cake case labeled with Special Occasion Cakes but stocked with coffee, which I observed today), but freshly painted walls and aisle markers. Meanwhile, the Kings stores have been getting some fixture upgrades, like new produce cases, new refrigerators in the deli departments, new bread cases, new lighting. It feels to me like in Mid-Atlantic, they've kind of decided they're done with ACME and are moving onto Kings now. Notably, there are no decor changes in any of the Kings stores, yet. The Millburn store had some construction done, with a wall removed and new flooring in the produce department. The Livingston Kings had a liquor store that closed in 2020, which apparently is supposed to become a kosher department. That construction is moving along, but again, nothing else is being done around the store. Some of the ACMEs could stand to get some of the upgrades the Kings are getting -- like lighting and produce cases.

Not sure what's been going on with Safeway East, since again I don't have eyes on that part of division. It's been a couple months since I've seen any of the Shaw's, but my impression is that more of the Shaw's have gotten renovations than the ACMEs. But I also get the sense that the Shaw's stores tend to be newer and nicer buildings than the northern NJ ACMEs (most of which, of course, were inherited from A&P). The Star Markets for sure have had more extensive and more recent renovations than the Kings, if we compare the two divisions' higher-end banners.

So what's going on with the other divisions as far as renovations and new stores? Are other divisions similarly stalled, or are we just kind of unlucky right now in Mid-Atlantic?
Safeway East remodels are picking up a bit, but certainly more closings than openings and a vast majority of stores still have the Lifestyle feel attached.
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Re: Albertsons announces strategic review of company

Post by storewanderer »

BatteryMill wrote: July 10th, 2022, 10:16 pm
marketreportblog wrote: July 10th, 2022, 8:12 pm Not sure if this is the place for it, but how's Albertsons doing in other regions of the country? I'm just curious what's going on in other divisions that I don't get to observe on the ground all the time.

I'm in northern New Jersey, and the very rapid renovations that were sweeping through the ACME chain in 2020-21 are all but done. As far as I can tell, there are no renovations going on currently and very few in the last six months or so. There are only a handful of ACMEs without Quality Built (or Heritage, as I see it more frequently called on here), but those don't seem to be getting much attention. There are also a few that have gotten the renovation, but are still very old stores. They end up having beat-up refrigerators, scratched floors, burnt out lights, and poorly repurposed displays (like a cake case labeled with Special Occasion Cakes but stocked with coffee, which I observed today), but freshly painted walls and aisle markers. Meanwhile, the Kings stores have been getting some fixture upgrades, like new produce cases, new refrigerators in the deli departments, new bread cases, new lighting. It feels to me like in Mid-Atlantic, they've kind of decided they're done with ACME and are moving onto Kings now. Notably, there are no decor changes in any of the Kings stores, yet. The Millburn store had some construction done, with a wall removed and new flooring in the produce department. The Livingston Kings had a liquor store that closed in 2020, which apparently is supposed to become a kosher department. That construction is moving along, but again, nothing else is being done around the store. Some of the ACMEs could stand to get some of the upgrades the Kings are getting -- like lighting and produce cases.

Not sure what's been going on with Safeway East, since again I don't have eyes on that part of division. It's been a couple months since I've seen any of the Shaw's, but my impression is that more of the Shaw's have gotten renovations than the ACMEs. But I also get the sense that the Shaw's stores tend to be newer and nicer buildings than the northern NJ ACMEs (most of which, of course, were inherited from A&P). The Star Markets for sure have had more extensive and more recent renovations than the Kings, if we compare the two divisions' higher-end banners.

So what's going on with the other divisions as far as renovations and new stores? Are other divisions similarly stalled, or are we just kind of unlucky right now in Mid-Atlantic?
Safeway East remodels are picking up a bit, but certainly more closings than openings and a vast majority of stores still have the Lifestyle feel attached.
I think the COVID pandemic did sort of put the brakes on a lot of remodeling and now the current shortages of materials have put the brakes on remodeling further. For instance Smiths did a remodel in Reno and the remodel basically fell about six weeks behind schedule, having already been delayed from a year or two ago, due to issues getting the necessary fixtures to complete the remodel. Refrigeration was particularly a problem.

But these cheap remodels I see Safeway and Albertsons doing basically just involve paint and some new wall fixtures. No new refrigeration or anything. I don't think it is terribly difficult to get any of that. NorCal is still doing remodels into the Florida decor but it seems to have stalled out lately in my immediate area. They do have a few stores (of 250+) in the division currently in grand reopening after being remodeled but in my area the majority of stores are still Lifestyle stores.
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Re: Albertsons announces strategic review of company

Post by mbz321 »

marketreportblog wrote: July 10th, 2022, 8:12 pm

I'm in northern New Jersey, and the very rapid renovations that were sweeping through the ACME chain in 2020-21 are all but done. As far as I can tell, there are no renovations going on currently and very few in the last six months or so. There are only a handful of ACMEs without Quality Built (or Heritage, as I see it more frequently called on here), but those don't seem to be getting much attention. There are also a few that have gotten the renovation, but are still very old stores.
My nearest Acme in PA was remodeled to 'Quality Built' earlier this year, but it is honestly not that impressive and not sure why they even wasted the money. The decor' is super bland compared to what Albertsons/Safeway is using in their stores. Flooring was replaced with laminate? but only in the bakery and produce area...the rest of the store is still the old checkerboard-ish linoleum. Oh and they added beer/wine sales and put in new self checkouts, but still just a very low-budget touchup job on a very old store (I think it opened in the 1970's although at some point, I'm guessing in the mid 1990's, was remodeled to the standard look at the time with dual entrances. It's definitely not a high volume store, but is surrounding by a lot of housing and apartment complexes, so I guess the convenience factor keeps it a float, as the prices are certainly atrocious for everyday shopping.

With Giant further encroaching on Acme's last real holdout in Philadelphia itself and Acme seeming not to really care, it makes me wonder how long before the whole chain gets divested.
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Re: Albertsons announces strategic review of company

Post by storewanderer »

mbz321 wrote: July 12th, 2022, 8:02 pm
My nearest Acme in PA was remodeled to 'Quality Built' earlier this year, but it is honestly not that impressive and not sure why they even wasted the money. The decor' is super bland compared to what Albertsons/Safeway is using in their stores. Flooring was replaced with laminate? but only in the bakery and produce area...the rest of the store is still the old checkerboard-ish linoleum. Oh and they added beer/wine sales and put in new self checkouts, but still just a very low-budget touchup job on a very old store (I think it opened in the 1970's although at some point, I'm guessing in the mid 1990's, was remodeled to the standard look at the time with dual entrances. It's definitely not a high volume store, but is surrounding by a lot of housing and apartment complexes, so I guess the convenience factor keeps it a float, as the prices are certainly atrocious for everyday shopping.

With Giant further encroaching on Acme's last real holdout in Philadelphia itself and Acme seeming not to really care, it makes me wonder how long before the whole chain gets divested.
I saw the Albertsons with the Heritage interior in Pueblo, CO and that interior... I don't know. I prefer Colorful Lifestyle. I may even prefer Florida interior.

The Safeway remodels lately keep the old tan flooring from Lifestyle in perimeter and white flooring in center store. In some cases floors that are very beat up are not even being touched in the remodels. "Special" high performing stores get a cement floor (so far the ones I've seen, they do a good job; no glue marks etc. visible on the cement when they're done).

Based on Safeway's absolutely terrible pricing, and the giant increases I see being taken every week, dollars above Wal Mart and Smiths for the same exact items, I think something is up and they are trying to shore up margins fast. I also notice their ads are very strong one week, then smaller and very very weak the next week or next couple weeks, there seems to be an inconsistency in their promotions lately. They are clearly going after margin.
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Re: Albertsons announces strategic review of company

Post by pseudo3d »

mbz321 wrote: July 12th, 2022, 8:02 pm
marketreportblog wrote: July 10th, 2022, 8:12 pm

I'm in northern New Jersey, and the very rapid renovations that were sweeping through the ACME chain in 2020-21 are all but done. As far as I can tell, there are no renovations going on currently and very few in the last six months or so. There are only a handful of ACMEs without Quality Built (or Heritage, as I see it more frequently called on here), but those don't seem to be getting much attention. There are also a few that have gotten the renovation, but are still very old stores.
My nearest Acme in PA was remodeled to 'Quality Built' earlier this year, but it is honestly not that impressive and not sure why they even wasted the money. The decor' is super bland compared to what Albertsons/Safeway is using in their stores. Flooring was replaced with laminate? but only in the bakery and produce area...the rest of the store is still the old checkerboard-ish linoleum. Oh and they added beer/wine sales and put in new self checkouts, but still just a very low-budget touchup job on a very old store (I think it opened in the 1970's although at some point, I'm guessing in the mid 1990's, was remodeled to the standard look at the time with dual entrances. It's definitely not a high volume store, but is surrounding by a lot of housing and apartment complexes, so I guess the convenience factor keeps it a float, as the prices are certainly atrocious for everyday shopping.

With Giant further encroaching on Acme's last real holdout in Philadelphia itself and Acme seeming not to really care, it makes me wonder how long before the whole chain gets divested.
Earlier this year, the numbers were released that shows that ACME does lead Philadelphia grocery sales over Giant. It wasn't a big margin (off the top of my head, less than +2) but it had improved since the SuperValu days.

As I've said before, the thing about selling divisions that everyone seems to forget is that stores either have to be either fairly new and marginally profitable, or doing so badly as a division that dumping it will improve the rest of the chain.

Alternatively, you could make the argument that it was a "poor fit" for the company, especially in isolated divisions, such as the case of Raley's in New Mexico (sold to Albertsons), or Schnucks in Memphis (sold to Kroger), and both of them were acquired from another company to begin with (in this case, both Albertsons).

None of these really apply to ACME and the greater Mid-Atlantic Division. That being said, I wouldn't put it past them to "spin off" the company (which they happen to have a big share in) to manipulate numbers but I don't know how they could pull that off.
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Re: Albertsons announces strategic review of company

Post by BatteryMill »

storewanderer wrote: July 10th, 2022, 11:51 pm
BatteryMill wrote: July 10th, 2022, 10:16 pm
marketreportblog wrote: July 10th, 2022, 8:12 pm Not sure if this is the place for it, but how's Albertsons doing in other regions of the country? I'm just curious what's going on in other divisions that I don't get to observe on the ground all the time.

I'm in northern New Jersey, and the very rapid renovations that were sweeping through the ACME chain in 2020-21 are all but done. As far as I can tell, there are no renovations going on currently and very few in the last six months or so. There are only a handful of ACMEs without Quality Built (or Heritage, as I see it more frequently called on here), but those don't seem to be getting much attention. There are also a few that have gotten the renovation, but are still very old stores. They end up having beat-up refrigerators, scratched floors, burnt out lights, and poorly repurposed displays (like a cake case labeled with Special Occasion Cakes but stocked with coffee, which I observed today), but freshly painted walls and aisle markers. Meanwhile, the Kings stores have been getting some fixture upgrades, like new produce cases, new refrigerators in the deli departments, new bread cases, new lighting. It feels to me like in Mid-Atlantic, they've kind of decided they're done with ACME and are moving onto Kings now. Notably, there are no decor changes in any of the Kings stores, yet. The Millburn store had some construction done, with a wall removed and new flooring in the produce department. The Livingston Kings had a liquor store that closed in 2020, which apparently is supposed to become a kosher department. That construction is moving along, but again, nothing else is being done around the store. Some of the ACMEs could stand to get some of the upgrades the Kings are getting -- like lighting and produce cases.

Not sure what's been going on with Safeway East, since again I don't have eyes on that part of division. It's been a couple months since I've seen any of the Shaw's, but my impression is that more of the Shaw's have gotten renovations than the ACMEs. But I also get the sense that the Shaw's stores tend to be newer and nicer buildings than the northern NJ ACMEs (most of which, of course, were inherited from A&P). The Star Markets for sure have had more extensive and more recent renovations than the Kings, if we compare the two divisions' higher-end banners.

So what's going on with the other divisions as far as renovations and new stores? Are other divisions similarly stalled, or are we just kind of unlucky right now in Mid-Atlantic?
Safeway East remodels are picking up a bit, but certainly more closings than openings and a vast majority of stores still have the Lifestyle feel attached.
I think the COVID pandemic did sort of put the brakes on a lot of remodeling and now the current shortages of materials have put the brakes on remodeling further. For instance Smiths did a remodel in Reno and the remodel basically fell about six weeks behind schedule, having already been delayed from a year or two ago, due to issues getting the necessary fixtures to complete the remodel. Refrigeration was particularly a problem.

But these cheap remodels I see Safeway and Albertsons doing basically just involve paint and some new wall fixtures. No new refrigeration or anything. I don't think it is terribly difficult to get any of that. NorCal is still doing remodels into the Florida decor but it seems to have stalled out lately in my immediate area. They do have a few stores (of 250+) in the division currently in grand reopening after being remodeled but in my area the majority of stores are still Lifestyle stores.
Not quite at Safeway East, remodels have actually picked up.
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Re: Albertsons announces strategic review of company

Post by mjhale »

BatteryMill wrote: July 20th, 2022, 2:54 pm Not quite at Safeway East, remodels have actually picked up.
All of the Safeway stores near me except the one on Nutley Street in Vienna have received some sort of "remodel". I put remodel in quotes because all they did was change the wall signs, paint the cases black and remove things like the salad bar, the sub station, the dumb brick bread oven in the bakery that was just a prop. No additional features, just a Lifestyle Safeway with different skin on it. If Safeway had decent pricing I really wouldn't care and might shop there more. I mean, the Giant-MD store near me had a "remodel" too which was just a decor swap and taking out the salad bar. The store still has the same layout as it did when it was built in the 90s. But Giant actually has decent pricing and I've seem some aggressive ads recently. Even with all of the price increases if Giant is running a good sale, I can come within about 5 percent of buying everything at Walmart. I'd much rather shop at Giant versus Walmart if I can. All I see at Safeway is high prices and very average offerings. Even with the new "skin" on the walls it doesn't make it worth shopping there.
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Re: Albertsons announces strategic review of company

Post by pseudo3d »

Now there's speculation that they want some sort of Ahold Delhaize merger. Ahold Delhaize runs the stronger operation in the Northeast but it would mean more divestments centered around the Northeast.

https://seekingalpha.com/news/3869157-a ... peculation
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Re: Albertsons announces strategic review of company

Post by marketreportblog »

pseudo3d wrote: August 8th, 2022, 5:08 pm Now there's speculation that they want some sort of Ahold Delhaize merger. Ahold Delhaize runs the stronger operation in the Northeast but it would mean more divestments centered around the Northeast.

https://seekingalpha.com/news/3869157-a ... peculation
Wow, that's actually the most solid evidence we have of a big deal that might be going on with Albertsons. Agreed that the northeast is a tricky region but could certainly be done. I assume we'd be looking at a lot of Safeway and Shaw's sales, maybe some ACMEs here and there. Is it possible that a big merger like that would result in the complete divestment of one chain, like Shaw's?

It seems that Albertsons Companies stock rose recently and Ahold Delhaize stock is going down very slightly. According to a family member who's a corporate lawyer, that's about what to expect leading up to an acquisition (the target of the acquisition rises and the potential acquirer declines). It's obviously not an ironclad indication of an upcoming change but it's a suggestion it might be possible.

Edit: this is an extremely unlikely scenario, but is there any chance the acquisition could go in the other direction, with Albertsons taking some or all of the Ahold Delhaize USA divisions? Would Ahold Delhaize want to get some of the "loser" stores out of the picture by selling them, for instance some of the underperforming NJ Stop & Shop locations, or possibly some of the low-volume Food Lions in areas that have Giant stores? Very unlikely, but I suppose not impossible.
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Re: Albertsons announces strategic review of company

Post by storewanderer »

Trying to envision this:

I see way too much overlap back east for this to make any sense or work out in a productive manner.

Plus what happens to Food Lion? Could they potentially carve out Food Lion into an independent company (since it isn't really integrated in with Ahold in the first place) and let it take the divested stores?

It also doesn't really help the lousy performing Western regions that need serious attention like Texas, Colorado, Arizona, etc.
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