What is Albertsons (Safeway) doing in Florida?
Back in June of 2008 when Albertsons agreed to sell 49 of its locations in Florida to Publix, it seemed a foregone conclusion that the chain’s days in the Sunshine State were numbered. Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Albertsons banner was being removed from the last three stores that carried it in the state. The strange thing is that, instead of just closing and selling off the locations, Albertsons Companies is reopening the stores as Safeway units.
The conversion to Safeway is expected to be completed by spring. The locations will feature newly remodeled interiors that include digital signage, menu boards, a natural/organic area and a Starbucks. The stores located in Altamonte Springs, Fort Lauderdale and Largo will be supplied long distance by a company distribution center in Houston, TX.
Safeway, which positions itself somewhere in the middle of the competitive grocery landscape, will likely face the same challenges that Albertsons did before.
Jeff Green, a retail analyst who spoke with the Tampa Bay Times, speculated that the stores were being reopened as Safeways to see how they would compete against Publix. Could Albertsons Companies be looking for a way back into Florida? If not, why bother with the millions invested in remodeling the stores?
- 3 Florida Albertsons being remodeled into Safeway grocery stores – Tampa Bay Times
- Florida Albertsons to become Safeways – Supermarket News
- Albertsons reaches deal to acquire Safeway – RetailWire
- Publix in deal with Albertsons – RetailWire
What do you think Albertsons Companies is hoping to accomplish by converting its remaining three stores in Florida into Safeway locations? Does Safeway have a better chance of succeeding and expanding in Florida than Albertsons?