By George Anderson
Since Safeway took over Randalls in Houston back in 1999, the chain has gone from holding a 20 percent share of market to 10.8 percent.
That performance, or lack thereof, has the Houston Chronicle and others speculating what Safeway will do with the chain as it gets ready for an earnings conference call today.
At the very least, many in Houston are expecting the parent company to announce store closings. According to an unnamed realty source that spoke with the Chronicle, written notices are being sent to landlords that Safeway intends to close locations.
A company spokesperson refused comment.
Mark Hamstra, retail editor at Supermarket News, said, "It's widely thought in the industry that Safeway didn't manage its acquisition of Randalls well at first, and since it's such a competitive field, it's very difficult to play catch-up once you've fallen behind."
Argus Research analyst Erin Ashley Smith said Safeway and others are having to carefully scrutinize performance and determine what steps are needed to improve bottom line performance and shareholder value.
"I think all of the grocery stores are looking at what they own and, in order to succeed, they are going to try to pull out of markets where they are not performing well," she said.
Moderator's Comment: What does Randalls need to do to reclaim its status within the Houston grocery market? What are its strengths and weaknesses? - George Anderson - Moderator
What does Randalls need to do to reclaim its status within the Houston grocery market?