Safeway as a private companyPosted: February 24, 2015
Last March I wrote about the announced sale of Safeway to Cerberus Capital Management, taking the public company private. I wrote that I was not optimistic about what that would do to the stores in which we shop, and shortly thereafter I commented on Facebook that I was not happy with the look of my local store in the transition period.
I spent some time in Safeway recently, shortly after the sale of the company had closed. As my Facebook comment suggested, the condition of my local store in the time between the announcement of the sale and the deal closing after final FTC approval was indeed not encouraging. Endcaps looked junky and there were times when whole sections of the freezer aisle were empty because the local store couldn’t spend the money to get it fixed.
After the transaction was complete, however, the shopping experience became been much better. The store was clean, pleasant, and well-stocked. Yes, there were empty spots here and there, but for the most part the store looked good and there was plenty of merchandise. All the freezer sections were fully functional. The produce looked good.
And while on one hand, I dislike the idea of the chain being owned by a capital management firm, on the other hand, they don’t have to keep shareholders happy quarter to quarter to quarter. That can in fact be a positive.
We’ll see how it goes.