Saying goodbye to Albertsons in Utah

Filed Under (Personal) by Jason L. on 02-11-2009

Associated Food Stores
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Yesterday was the last day of Albertsons grocery stores in Utah. When 34 former Albertsons stores open today at noon, they will be operating as Associated Foods Fresh Market stores. There are a few exceptions. The stores near St. George Utah are expected to join the Las Vegas Albertsons division and remain as Albertsons stores. Four stores are going to remain Albertsons, perhaps for only a few months longer as the company continues to search for another buyer. They were not purchased as part of the Associated Foods purchase.

Albertsons has had a price perception problem (the 3 P’s) at least as long as I can remember. Since the late 1990’s people recognized Albertsons as a service oriented store and not a store for the best prices. Flurishing Wal-Mart supercenters started cutting even deeper into profits by stealing loyal customers who were enticed by lower prices.

Over the past 11 years, Albertsons attempted to rebound by completing several mergers and acquisitions. They tried to improve price perception and customer loyalty, lower costs and increase profits. Ultimately they met their demise in 2006 when they were dividedly purchased by SuperValu and Cerberus investors. Each year since then, more and more stores with the Albertsons banner have closed. This year SuperValu announced quarterly profits had fallen 30%.

The Associated Food Stores purchase of Utah Albertsons stores will prolong the life of these particular stores and continue to support the employees who work there. Looking at the big picture, the grocery business in Utah is crowded. With WinCo entering the picture now, there are even more options for consumers. In the end the store which offers consistent low prices allong with good service will win. As of now, it’s difficult to tell if anyone is even trying to compete.

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