Albertsons grocery store

Albertsons grocery store DEFAULT

The Untold Truth Of Albertsons

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By Lauren Cusimano/Sept. 28, 2020 3:23 pm EDT/Updated: June 16, 2021 7:58 pm EDT

Albertsons, a major grocery store chain operating more than 2,250 locations in 35 states and the District of Columbia as well as 20 separate banners, needs no introduction — even though we just gave you one anyway. It just debuted as a public company this summer, and it currently ranks as the second-largest supermarket operator in the country (it comes in right behind Kroger).

But even grocery conglomerates like this one have humble beginnings. One guy started the whole thing with some saved and borrowed money and created a new food shopping experience, along with many firsts, for customers right there in Boise, Idaho. 

Today, Albertsons sticks to its innovative roots (and its Idahoan roots) thanks to an advanced online shopping experience, major efforts to address climate change, and some pandemic-related business changes. That's not to say Albertsons hasn't seen its share of drama, including a merger with Rite Aid that was nixed less than 24 hours before the vote.

Here's a deep dive into this neighborhood grocery chain's eight-decade history, starting with day one.

Joe Albertson started his business in 1939

Every major supermarket conglomerate has a humble origin story, and Albertsons is no exception. Though its true history dates back to the mid-1800s, Joe Albertson officially started the store on July 21, 1939.

Albertson's experience was as a Safeway district manager, but he was aiming to open his own store. He'd saved $5,000 and borrowed another $7,500 from his aunt-in-law (thank you, Aunt Bertie). He also partnered with L.S. Skaggs, a director in the Safeway arena, and Skagg's accountant, Tom Cuthbert (via NPR). With this foundation, the first Albertsons opened at 16th and State Streets in Boise, Idaho.

There was definitely fanfare. A newspaper ad announcing the opening apparently dubbed it as "Idaho's largest and finest food store." It promised convenient hours, free parking, and a money-back guarantee.

It was a hit. Albertson grew the company's sales to more than $1 million by the end of 1941.

Albertsons offered a number of new grocery store features

That first Albertsons Food Center store in Boise, Idaho, was different in a number of ways from Safeway and other grocery stores customers frequented at the time. Primarily, it was a one-stop shopping market. It was also huge, clocking in at 10,000 square feet. This was about eight times the size of a typical grocery store in the late 1930s (via

It featured elements we see often today, including an on-site bakery, which apparently filled the new store with the smell of baking bread. Other treats reportedly included roasted nuts, fresh popcorn, and a fancy automatic donut machine. The company also sold its signature Big Joe's homemade ice cream. You could get a hand-dipped ice cream cone that would only cost a nickel. Plus, you can't forget that the store offered one of the first grocery store magazine racks in the nation.

Joe Albertson was quite the philanthropist

Albertsons founder Joseph Albert Albertson (for real with that middle name) did more with his life than run a successful grocery chain. In fact, his whole life is pretty interesting. Albertson was born in Oklahoma in 1906 but grew up in Caldwell just west of Boise, Idaho. He met his wife in chemistry class, and the two were married on New Year's Eve 1929 by the first president of the College of Idaho. What's more, that college changed its name to the Albertson College of Idaho from 1991 to 2007 (it's since gone back to the College of Idaho).

The reason a small liberal arts school went by Albertson College for 16 years is because Albertson donated about $35 million to the institute up until his death in 1993. These and other donations were made through the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, which was established in 1966. By its 50th anniversary in 2016, the organization had given nearly $700 million to Idaho communities. In 2019 alone, it had given $32 million to charitable organizations.

Though described as a private man, Albertson was big on public projects. For instance, he also donated 14 acres of land neighboring the Boise River to the city in 1989, which was then turned into Kathryn Albertson Park (which is now 41 acres).

Albertsons Companies, Inc. has stuck to its Idaho roots


Albertsons has done very well since that initial store opening in Boise, Idaho, in 1939. Albertsons Companies, Inc., as the business is now known, operates as one of the largest food and drug retailers in the nation. The chain offers more than 2,250 stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia, about 400 sites have adjacent gas stations, and it employs about 270,000 people (via Dun & Bradstreet). But what's sweet is how Albertsons has stuck to its Idahoan roots.

For instance, the company is still headquartered in Boise at 250 East Parkcenter Boulevard. At its peak, Albertsons employed somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 people in the Boise area alone according to the Idaho Department of Labor data (via NPR).

But one of the more interesting of Albertsons' efforts to keep the company true to its Idahoan roots was circling back to the site of that original store. In 2013, the company opened a remodeled store on the site of the first location (via Supermarket News). While Big Joe's and the automatic donut machine are long gone, a few modern amenities are currently available, including a Redbox, Starbucks, and a growler station.

There is definitely lots of Albertsons merch and vintage gear

We love it when corporations, chains, and other random businesses sell random merchandise. Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers has some, so does Taco Bell and Dunkin', and so does Albertsons.

Known as the grocery store with the big blue A, Albertsons has definitely worked on its image over the decades. Plenty of wearables sport the logo, which has an interesting history. First, the company's official name was Albertson's till 2002, then the apostrophe was dropped. The typeface has definitely changed over the years, too. In the beginning, the name "Albertson's Food Center" was presented in a simple font. Reportedly, according to a comment on a font design site, by 1976, the logo was updated to the Introspect typeface, designed by Walter Landor & Associates, that we know today.

A quick Google search will also produce more household gear, including aprons, stickers, matchbooks, coffee mugs, onesies, and more.

eBay is a primo spot for historic Albertsons gear. In addition to straightforward T-shirts with the logo, there are also lapel pins clearly from previous employees and even uniform collared shirts. Toy Albertsons shipping trucks are also a hot item, apparently for the little ones. Vintage metal signs from old Albertsons locations are also available, and you can even get a vintage Albertsons plastic rain bonnet holder.

There is also an Albertsons Stadium and more sports connections

Loren Orr/Getty Images

In addition to The College of Idaho changing its name to Albertson College for several years, the Albertsons name has been associated with many other institutions.

For starters, there's Albertsons Stadium at Boise State University (the one with the famous blue turf, called, appropriately, The Blue). This is the home of the Boise State Broncos football team, as well as the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The stadium was originally constructed in 1970 and renamed for the Albertsons grocery chain in 2014. That's when the company arranged to pay $12.5 million over a 15-year span for the naming rights of the stadium. According to the Idaho Business Review, Albertsons made the move to solidify the company's place in Boise. The best part of the story is the fact that, at the time, the stadium was a neighbor to Taco Bell Arena on the same campus.

There's also the Albertsons Boise Open, an annual professional golf tournament held at the Hillcrest Country Club in Boise since 1990.

Albertsons aims to be environmentally friendly


It's funny how some grocery stores, even mega conglomerates like Albertsons, have an ethos. And these days, that usually includes sustainability efforts. According to the Albertsons website, the company claims its goal is to grow as a business while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and other valuable resources.

Albertsons uses LED lighting in its stores, distribution centers, offices, and manufacturing plants — and harnesses solar energy to power some of these sites as well. The solar energy comes from a growing number of locations with solar panels that generate about 20 percent of the power needed to run the store. What's more, there are seriously two one-megawatt Mitsubishi wind turbines powering part of the distribution center in Tracy, California. About 89 percent of the Albertsons truck fleet is EPA SmartWay-certified, meaning some major freight transportation efficiency is going on. There have also been efforts to reduce plastic waste.

Albertsons also partnered with Plenty, a vertical farming company, to supply about 430 stores in California with greens like baby arugula, baby kale, crispy lettuce, and mizuna mix.

Albertsons offers sustainably sourced seafood

In addition to the many efforts Albertsons makes to address climate change, including major efficiency with electricity use, transportation, and waste reduction, the grocery chain also seeks to stock sustainably sourced seafood.

Behind the scenes, Albertsons has partnered with the non-profit organization FishWise to equip its seafood-sourcing teams with the smarts needed to find responsibly sourced seafood products, according to the company's website. Through this partnership, the Top 5 by 2022 Sushi Commitment was developed. The goal is to ensure the "five most popular wild and farm-raised seafood species used for sushi in its stores will be sourced sustainably and responsibly" (via Forbes).

Behind the cart, shoppers can look for seafood items marked with "Responsible Choice." That means the highly respected Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program has deemed that item to be a "Best Choice" or a "Good Alternative." These distinctions are designed to help consumers shop for seafood that's been fished or farmed in ways that have less of an environmental impact while promoting a healthy ocean.

According to Albertsons' sustainability highlights from 2019, 100 percent of the store's house brands, Waterfront BISTRO and Open Nature, offers seafood products sourced to meet the stores responsible seafood policy — hitting the original 2022 goal three years ahead of schedule.

Albertsons' near-merger with Rite Aid was pretty dramatic

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In early 2018, it was announced that Albertsons was to acquire the major drugstore chain Rite Aid. That meant that inside all Albertsons locations, where you'd normally find Osco and Sav-On-brand pharmacies at the time, you'd see a Rite Aid pharmacy. But by that August, the whole deal was off.

The combined new company would have created 319 health clinics and 4,345 pharmacies. But, according to Forbes, Albertsons Companies Inc. and Rite Aid Corporation broke off the $24 billion merger less than 24 hours before the shareholders were to vote on the deal. Apparently, those shareholders were not in support. Two advisors from a proxy firm had the dirt. They felt the Albertsons' transaction "undervalued Rite Aid's pharmacy benefit management company, EnvisionRx." Plus, it would load up both entities with debt. 

Of course, Albertsons didn't agree, but whatever (via The New York Times).

This was one of a few failed mergers between Albertsons and ... someone. The grocery store's private equity owners at the time, Cerberus Capital Management, tried to push Albertsons into an initial public offering (IPO) in 2015 that was also called off (via CNBC). Other attempts to combine Albertsons with Sprouts Farmers Market and Whole Foods were also rebuked.

Albertsons has multiple subsidiaries — a few you may know

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Albertsons Companies operates about 20 well-known grocery banners. In addition to its own name, now the apostrophe-free Albertsons, other companies include Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Tom Thumb, Pavilions, Star Market, and Carrs.

An interesting company under the Albertsons Companies is Safeway — a merger that happened in 2015. Yes, it's the very same place where Joe Albertson got his start. The founder began his career as a clerk at a local Safeway store in Idaho in 1930. Albertson was a Safeway supervisor when he started his own store that became the mega-grocery conglomerate it is today.

The company also acquired a meal kit delivery service called Plated that it has since phased out. The Plated brand will now appear in Albertsons stores so loyal customers can get all their favorites without even having to sign up for a subscription (which is probably a good thing because these kinds of companies tend to present a lot of problems).

In addition to these subsidiaries, Albertsons operates a number of products under Own Brands — more than 11,000 to be exact. Those include O Organics, Lucerne Dairy Farms, Value Corner, and the highly sustainable Waterfront Bistro.

Albertsons' online shopping game is no joke

During a pandemic, it may be no big news that a major grocery chain offers online shopping with delivery. But Albertsons didn't need to scramble in spring 2020 to slap something together for customers shifting to safer shopping options. The grocery giant had been quietly upping its online game for years already. In fact, according to BloomReach (more on them later), Albertsons was one of the first grocery stores to start online delivery in the 2000s.

During the dramatic near-merger with Rite-Aid in 2018, Albertsons had fingers in other pies in the background. One of those pies was the online retail space. By 2019, Forbes was reporting how vice-president of eCommerce Marketing & Merchandising at Albertsons Companies Kenji Gjovig was talking about the online space at the 2019 Digital Food and Beverage Conference.

Since last year, Albertsons' has been successfully moving forward with eCommerce thanks to three partnerships. One is BloomReach, a company using AI to create an advanced search experience in food retail for customers (i.e., you and me). Next, Quotient Technology is Albertsons' digital media platform partner, which helps better connect shoppers with consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. Finally, Albertsons partnered with Glympse, which specializes in location sharing, to provide real-time tracking of eCommerce orders.

You can see it for yourself. Albertsons offers its product online, sure, but there's more interaction in this space than you may realize. For instance, there are recipes, personalized content, and that "Where's my order?" feature.

Albertsons is doing extremely well during the pandemic


Since Albertsons Companies is one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States, it's hard to remember the company has such humble beginnings. You know, Joe Albertson saved and borrowed some money to start his own grocery store in Boise in 1939?

This means Albertson has gone through some stuff, including a World War, recessions, and other notable crises in this country. Perhaps because of that long experience handling just about everything that comes its way, the company is handling the COVID-19 pandemic pretty well. For starters, Albertsons has been offering at-home COVID-19 test kits with "no appointment, no line, no uncomfortable nasal swab" starting this September and October. Results will be delivered by email or text within 72 hours.

According to Supermarket News, Albertsons has employed extra safety precautions for its customers and many employees, all while pushing for grocery workers to be designated as emergency first responders. In spring of 2020, Albertsons and its banners teamed up the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), the nation's largest food and retail union, to designate its supermarket associates as temporary "extended first responders" or "emergency personnel." This was a push to help grocery store workers get priority access to testing and to protective equipment during the outbreak.

As a result of all this, Supermarket News has recently selected Albertsons as its Retailer of the Year for 2020.


Albertsons buys back stores feds forced it to sell

Albertsons grocery store
  • Albertsons Co. buys back 33 stores it sold to win federal approval of a $9.2B merger with Safeway
  • Albertsons reacquired stores from Haggen Holdings LLC, a Pacific Northwest grocery who bought the stores and then filed for bankruptcy
  • The buyback appears to undermine terms of the merger with the Federal Trade Commission, which forced Albertsons to sell the stores as a condition of Safeway merger

Less than a year after federal regulators forced Albertsons Co. to sell off more than a 146 grocery stores as part of a $9.2 billion merger with Safeway, the grocery chain has started buying them back for pennies on the dollar.

And, in some cases, for only $1.

A federal bankruptcy judge on Tuesday approved Albertsons' purchase of 33 stores, including three in Arizona, from Haggen Holdings LLC, a Pacific Northwest grocery chain that failed spectacularly months after it took over Albertsons stores in five states.

The buyback appears to erode a Federal Trade Commission order that required Albertsons and Safeway to divest 168 total stores to prevent the new company from having a monopoly in dozens of markets.

Enter Haggen, which in December agreed to pay Albertsons about $300 million for 146 stores and went from a regional chain with 18 stores to a major Western presence, with 164 stores and 106 pharmacies in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Haggen's purchase of Albertsons and Safeway stores was critical to FTC approval of the merger. Among the conditions, federal regulators prohibited the new Albertsons from owning or acquiring interest in any store in the "relevant areas" for 10 years without first providing written notification to the FTC.

FTC spokeswoman Elizabeth Lordan said Wednesday that "this matter is in litigation" and the agency was limited in what it could say. She did not immediately respond to questions about what, if any, objections the FTC's Bureau of Competition raised over the buyback.

Haggen's acquisition was supposed to add an estimated $750 million in sales to its books. But the company instead floundered, unable to manage all of its new stores. It had barely finished converting Valley stores in May when it announced its first Arizona closures in June.

In September, Haggen filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, Haggen owed as many as 5,000 creditors and had anywhere from $50 million to $100 million in liabilities.

Haggen blamed Albertsons for its failure. It filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the grocer, accusing it of sabotaging the launch of new stores.

Haggen officials claimed Albertsons used them to help gain the FTC's approval of the merger and then engaged in "coordinated and systematic efforts to eliminate competition."

Haggen said Albertsons engaged in an illegal campaign that included “premeditated acts of unfair and anti-competitive conduct that were calculated to circumvent Albertsons obligations under federal antitrust laws, FTC orders, and contractual commitments to Haggen."

Albertsons denied the allegations and countered with a $41 million lawsuit accusing Haggen of fraud.

Both lawsuits are ongoing.

Haggen sold 55 stores at a bankruptcy auction this month for about $47 million, court records show.

Albertsons paid $14.3 million for the 33 stores. Albertsons’ bid price for nearly half of the stores was $1 each, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal. It also assumed liabilities as part of the purchase price.

Albertsons reacquired three stores in Arizona; one on McCulloch Boulevard in Lake Havasu City and on East Broadway Road and North Silverbell Road in Tucson.

Haggen stores in Flagstaff, Prescott, Prescott Valley, Anthem, another site in Tucson and two sites in Scottsdale received no bids.

Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market bought four Haggen stores in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Simi Valley, Calif., and Las Vegas.

Haggen grocery store chain has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
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Albertsons offering grocery delivery within an hour

SAN FRANCISCO – Albertsons Cos. Inc. and DoorDash are making on-demand grocery delivery a reality for about 2,000 of the supermarket chain’s brands, including Jewel-Osco, Vons and Safeway. The service, available via the DoorDash app or on the Albertsons website, gives shoppers the opportunity to order more than 40,000 items from select stores, including core groceries as well as prepared food, meal kits, floral and convenience products with no minimum order size required.

“Consumers' desire to get everything in their neighborhood on-demand has increased dramatically,” said Fuad Hannon, head of new verticals at DoorDash. “We are thrilled to partner with Albertsons, one of the largest food and drug retailers in the world, as they expand their already strong local footprint beyond their four walls to offer consumers convenient access to on-demand grocery delivery.”

As part of the partnership, customers can participate in a loyalty program and delivery hours have been expanded. Discounts of up to 40% are also available during a promotional period, from June 21 to June 30.

“We are committed to expanding our delivery experience in order to meet our customers' needs whenever, wherever and however they want,” said Chris Rupp, Albertsons’ chief customer and digital officer. “Our partnership with DoorDash is the next step in our digital transformation to help make our customers' lives easier and help answer the perennial question, 'What's for dinner
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American grocery chain

Albertsons Companies (logo).svg
FormerlyAlbertson's Inc. (until 2006 sale to Supervalu, Cerberus)

Traded as

IndustryRetail / Grocery
FoundedJuly 21, 1939 (82 years ago) (1939-07-21)
FounderJoe Albertson
HeadquartersBoise, Idaho, U.S.

Number of locations

2,253 (December 5, 2020)[3][4][5][6]

Key people

ProductsBakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, general grocery, meat, pharmacy, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor
RevenueIncreaseUS$62.455 billion (2020)[4]

Operating income

Increase US$1.437 billion (2020)[4]

Net income

Increase US$466.4 million (2020)[4]
Total assetsIncrease US$24.735 billion (2020)[4]
Total equityIncrease US$2.278 billion (2020)[4]
OwnerCerberus Capital Management[7]

Number of employees

325,000 (May 2020)

Albertsons Companies, Inc.[1][2] is an American grocery company founded and headquartered in Boise, Idaho.

With 2,253 stores as of the third quarter of fiscal year 2020 and 270,000 employees as of fiscal year 2019,[3][4][6] the company is the second-largest supermarket chain in North America after Kroger, which has 2,750 stores.[8][9] Albertsons ranked 53rd in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.[10] Prior to its January 2015 merger with Safeway Inc. for $9.2 billion,[11] it had 1,075 supermarkets located in 29 U.S. states under 12 different banners. Its predecessor company, Albertsons, Inc., was reorganized as Albertsons LLC and sold to AB Acquisition LLC, a Cerberus Capital Management-led consortium. After buying back the majority of its former stores it sold to SuperValu in 2006, AB Acquisition announced it would change its name to Albertsons Companies Inc. in 2015.[12] The company's corporate name was Albertson's Inc. until 2002, when the apostrophe was removed.[13]



Albertsons was founded in 1939 by Joe Albertson (1906–1993) on July 21 in Boise, Idaho.[14] An ad in Boise's Idaho Statesman newspaper touted Albertson's first store as "Idaho's largest and finest food store." The store was filled with perks that, at the time, were brand new: free parking, a money-back guarantee, and even an ice cream shop. The original store was built onto several times, but it was demolished in 1979 and a replacement store built on the same property. A brick monument stands on the northwest corner of 16th and State Streets in downtown Boise, commemorating the original store.

The cheese department of an Albertsons in Seattle(1955)

The grocery store was an enormous success, and Albertson reinvested his profits back into the business. New stores were opened in neighboring towns to the west: Nampa, Caldwell, and Emmett, before Pearl Harbor in late 1941. The company grew steadily in the years following World War II. When Albertson was considering putting a new store in a town, he would drive around the town and look for neighborhoods with much children's clothing hanging on clotheslines; he knew that those kinds of neighborhoods were where he wanted to build his stores.

Albertson's, Inc. became a public company in 1959, and its growth continued, opening its hundredth store in Seattle in 1962. in 1964, Albertsons expanded to southernCalifornia by acquiring All American Markets, a small chain based in Orange County.

In 1967, Albertsons expanded into Colorado, acquiring eight stores from Furr's Supermarkets. By the end of the 1960s, Albertsons operated over 200 stores.

Partnership with Skaggs and 1970s expansion[edit]

In 1969, Albertsons partnered with Skaggs Drug Centers, owned by The Skaggs Companies, Inc., to create the first combination food/drug stores,[14] first in Texas. The partnership was a tremendous success for several years. The partnership ended due to the fact that it was getting more difficult to control. Neither partner could buy the other out, and the partnership was dissolved amicably in 1977. Skaggs kept stores in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and Albertsons kept stores in Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana, as well as some Texas stores (based in San Antonio).[15]

Albertsons continued to expand its base in the West during this time. In 1973, Albertsons opened its first distribution center in Brea, California. In 1974, Albertsons bought the four-store Monte Mart chain in northern California.[16] Albertsons bought Fazio's Shopping Bag in 1978 from Fisher Foods, adding 46 stores in Southern California.

Expansion in the 1980s[edit]

In 1981, Albertsons entered the states of Nebraska and South Dakota.

In 1982, Albertsons reorganized its management into four regions: California, Northwest, Intermountain, and South. Albertsons continued to add stores in the 1980s, building or acquiring about 283 stores during the decade. Albertsons continued to expand in Texas beyond the Skaggs base in north Texas and San Antonio, re-entering the Dallas–Fort Worth market in 1984, and adding three Skaggs-Alpha Beta stores in Austin within months after entering that market in early 1989 with the acquisition of six Tom Thumb stores.

Albertsons built its first fully mechanized distribution center in Portland, Oregon, in 1988.

In March 1989, Albertsons opened its 500th store, in Temecula, California.

Expansion in the 1990s[edit]

Albertsons began to expand heavily in the 1990s.[14] In 1992, Albertsons bought the stores American Stores (formerly Skaggs Drugs Cos.) had in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Florida. Many of the stores had been opened as Skaggs Albertsons originally (later turning into "Skaggs Alpha Beta" under American Stores ownership) but by 1991 had been rebranded as Jewel-Osco. These included a few stores that American Stores opened in the late 1980s under that name in Florida. Additionally, a non-food distributions center in Ponca City, Oklahoma, was purchased from ASC.

In 1994, Albertsons would acquire four stores from San Diego County chain Big Bear Stores.

The Skaggs acquisition was a success, and the new stores were integrated into Albertsons' Southern division. The ease of that acquisition and Albertsons' high-flying stock price led Albertsons to attempt expansion on a grand scale. In a series of acquisitions in the late 1990s, Albertsons purchased Seessel's[17] and 14 other stores from Bruno's,[18]Buttrey Food & Drug[19] (divesting seven Buttrey stores and six Albertsons stores to Smith's and another two Buttrey stores to SuperValu), the Springfield, Missouri Smitty's chain, and three Super One Foods stores from Miner's Inc. in the Des Moines market, all while building new stores across all divisions. These acquisitions brought Albertsons into five new states: Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, and Tennessee.[15]

The Birth of Albertsons Express Gas Stations[edit]

Albertsons launched a new part of their brand in 1997 - Albertsons Express. The first of the Albertsons Express opened that year in Eagle, ID.[20] This concept wasn't limited to Idaho; it expanded to locations across America located on Albertsons' existing/new stores properties. A few of the locations with Express Gas Stations include Gresham,[21]Hillsboro,[22] and Portland[23] in Oregon; Houston[24] in Texas; and Casper[25] and Cheyenne[26] in Wyoming.

American Stores acquisition[edit]

In 1999, Albertsons made its biggest acquisition yet: American Stores Company, which included the chains ACME in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware; Lucky in California and Nevada; Jewel, Jewel-Osco in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa, and two drug store chains: Osco Drug, with a presence in New England, the Midwest, Montana and Arizona; and Sav-on Drugs, with a presence in Southern California, Nevada, Western Arizona, and New Mexico. The acquisition briefly made Albertsons the largest American food and drug operator, with over 2,500 stores (including stand-alone drug stores) in 37 states, until Kroger's acquisition of Fred Meyer closed the following month. To make the acquisition, Albertsons was forced by anti-trust concerns to divest 146 stores, primarily in California, Nevada, and New Mexico to Certified Grocers, Raley's, Ralphs, Stater Bros., and Vons. In California, Nevada, and New Mexico, there were already Albertsons stores, so in order to not have two banners in the same area, 508 Lucky stores were converted to the Albertsons banner in November 1999, and the Lucky brand name was retired.[27]

In January 2001, Albertsons restructured its "districts" to a divisional structure mostly based around distribution centers, with a drug store division and 18 regional division offices.[28]

2001–2004 restructuring[edit]

On July 18, 2001, Larry Johnston, the new chairman and CEO of Albertson's, announced it would close 165 "underperforming" stores spread across 25 states, cut jobs, and reduce its newly created operating divisions. The first change was that the Utah, Idaho, and Big Sky (Montana) division were merged back into Intermountain, while Oregon, Washington, and the Inland Empire (eastern Washington and Northern Idaho) division would be consolidated back into a single Northwestern division. Albertsons sold its freestanding Osco Drug stores in the northeastern states to Jean Coutu Group, a Canadian drug store company (those stores were re-branded as Brooks Pharmacy after the sale was completed in January 2002). In 2001,[29] the short-lived Des Moines stores would close as well[30] and Albertsons began to issue Albertsons Preferred Savings Cards for all of its stores.

The following year, three more divisions were closed entirely:

  • San Antonio: Having been in San Antonio since the Skaggs Albertsons days, at the time Albertsons was ranked as the area's number two grocer by market share, compared to H-E-B's top position in the market. At the time of the withdrawal, the 44-store H-E-B chain held a commanding 61 percent market share, while Albertsons held a 15 percent market share. Albertsons had held the third position at the time Kroger exited the market in mid-1993 when it closed its 15 area stores. Then, H-E-B's 37 area stores held a 43.2 percent market share, Kroger's 15 area stores a 13.7 percent share, and Albertsons' 10 stores a 13.1 percent share. The remaining stores in the San Antonio division, primarily in the Austin area, became part of the Dallas division.[31] The last store in South Texas to close, a store in Victoria, Texas, was closed in October.[32]
  • Mid-South: In 2002, Albertsons shuttered its Mid-South division by selling its Seessel's supermarket chain in Memphis to Schnucks and stores in Mississippi to Brookshire's. The stores in the Nashville area, most of which were former Bruno's stores, were sold to Publix.[33]
  • Houston: After entering the market in the early 1990s, the troubled Houston division would be gone too, with Albertsons closing its 43 area stores, with most reopening as Kroger or Randalls (acquired with Safeway in 2015 and subsequent return to Houston), with 2 of them becoming H-E-B stores. The Louisiana stores from that division joined the Florida division (though they would move to the Dallas division soon after), while the stores in the Bryan–College Station area became part of the Dallas division.[31] The Greater Houston distribution center near Katy, built in 1996[15] was sold to 99 Cents Only Stores in 2003.[34]

Additionally, the distribution center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, (home of the Great Plains division) was sold to Fleming Companies, though no stores were closed.[35] The Great Plains division stretched all the way into Omaha, Nebraska.[36] The sale of the distribution center included a distribution deal for Fleming to continue to supply Oklahoma and Omaha.[37]

After stabilizing the company's finances and consolidating divisions, in 2004, Albertsons acquired Shaw's Supermarkets and Star Market from Sainsbury's for $2.5 billion.[38] Albertsons also purchased Bristol Farms for $135 million.[39] During the same time, Albertsons exited the markets of Omaha, Nebraska,[40] where it closed or sold 21 stores, and New Orleans, Louisiana, where it closed seven, selling four to A&P, which converted them to Sav-A-Center.[41]

A typical Albertsons in Boise, Idaho, in June 2007 (Store #162)

Sale to Cerberus and SuperValu[edit]

Despite this, the acquisition spree had caused significant problems for Albertsons, Inc. Many of the acquired chains had systems that did not mesh well with Albertsons. Financing those acquisitions required Albertsons Inc. to take on significant debt. Added to those problems were significant changes in consumer buying patterns, including new competition from large discounters such as Walmart and Costco that impacted sales.

After several assessments of the company and months of rumors, it was announced on January 23, 2006, Albertsons, Inc. was to be sold to a consortium of companies. SuperValu would take the bulk of the company including the brand names and what was considered to be the stronger divisions, including the Albertsons divisions of Southern California, Northwest, and Intermountain, as well as the ACME, Bristol Farms, Jewel-Osco, and Shaw's Supermarkets and Star Market brands.[42] This acquisition would also lead to SuperValu gaining access to over 100 Albertsons Express fuel centers.[43]

CVS would acquire 702 stand-alone Osco and Sav-on Drug stores (closing about 100 of them) and converting them to CVS/pharmacy stores.

What was left of Albertsons Inc. became Albertsons, LLC,[44] purchased by a Cerberus-led group of investors, and CVS Pharmacy. The acquisition was completed on June 2, 2006, with the Cerberus-led group (who also included Kimco Realty Corporation, Schottenstein Stores Corp., Lubert-Adler Partners, and Klaff Realty). They held Albertsons LLC as "AB Acquisition LLC". Albertsons LLC included 661 stores and the distribution centers and offices from five of Albertsons divisions. These five divisions were thought to be Albertsons' five weakest divisions, and conventional wisdom in the industry was that the stores would eventually be closed or sold to other operators.

As of June 2, 2006, the company's retail stores were divided as follows:

  • SuperValu had acquired 1,124 stores in the deal, including:
    • ACME (134 locations)
    • ACME Express, Jewel Express, and Albertsons Express (107 fuel centers)
    • Albertsons (564 locations in Southern California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming) – New Albertsons Inc. (later sold to Albertsons LLC)[45]
    • Bristol Farms (11 locations)
    • Jewel and Jewel-Osco (198 locations)
    • Lazy Acres (1 location)
    • Max Foods (4 locations) (3 converted into Lucky, 1 became Albertsons in July 2006)
    • Osco Pharmacy and Sav-on Pharmacy (906 in-store pharmacies)
    • Save-A-Lot (2 stores franchised by Shaw's)
    • Shaw's (169 locations)
    • Star Market (20 locations)
    • Distribution centers (11 centers)
  • CVS acquired all (approximately 702) of the stand-alone Osco Drug and Sav-on Drugs rebranding them all as CVS Pharmacy, though they closed approximately 100 of the acquired stores. Many CVS locations were close to Sav-on stores. CVS also acquired one distribution center.
  • The Cerberus-led Albertsons LLC retained:
    • Albertsons (655 locations in Arizona, Northern California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming – Albertsons LLC)
    • County Line Liquors (1 location)
    • Grocery Warehouse (1 location)
    • Jewel-Osco (2 locations)
    • Max Foods (2 locations)
    • Super Saver Foods (23 locations, 21 closed in late 2006)

Following the sale, Albertson's, Inc., was removed from the NYSE. Albertsons LLC was technically the successor company to Albertsons according to SEC filings[46] but it was New Albertsons Inc. that assumed most of the debt, got most of the property, and transitioned Albertsons stock into SuperValu stock.

The five Albertsons Inc. divisions that remained as Albertsons LLC were the Dallas/Fort Worth division (Texas excluding El Paso, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas), the Rocky Mountain division (Colorado, Wyoming (excluding Rock Springs and Jackson stores), Nebraska, and South Dakota), the Southwest division (Arizona, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas), the Florida division (Florida), and the Northern California division (northern California and northern Nevada). Albertson's LLC has concentrated on rebuilding market share and its store base in its strongest areas and divesting stores and other property in its weaker areas.

On June 6, 2006, only one week after Albertsons LLC was created, the company announced its intent to close 100 Albertsons stores by August 2006, including all but two Super Saver stores.[47] Those closures were spread across all five divisions. Soon after, the company announced that it would be shutting down its online delivery service on July 21, 2006.[48] To distinguish the two companies, Albertsons LLC created a second website,

A leaner company[edit]

In November 2006, it was announced that the Northern California division, consisting of stores located in northern California and northern Nevada, would be sold to Save Mart, with the deal closing in February 2007.[49] The company gradually converted all the stores to its Save Mart banner over summer 2007, except for stores in the San Francisco Bay area, which were rebranded as Lucky.[49][50] The deal included two Northern California distribution centers. Most of the Albertsons locations had originally been branded as Lucky before Albertson's 1999 purchase of American Stores.[49]

Most of the changes in the next six years would downscale the remaining divisions. In the Dallas–Fort Worth division, in 2007, the distribution center was sold to Associated Wholesale Grocers,[51] and Albertsons would exit both Oklahoma[52] and Austin.[53] The Oklahoma stores were sold to Associated Wholesale Grocers associates while the Austin stores were sold to H-E-B. With the closures, only four stores south of the Dallas–Fort Worth area existed in Texas, all of which were closed or sold by December 2011. Additionally, many of the Dallas–Fort Worth stores closed during this time,[54] even into 2011.[55]

A typical Albertsons-Savon store in Dallas, Texas, in October 2005 (Store #4297). This store was later sold as part of FTC-ordered divestment, and later became Minyard Sun Fresh Market, but has since closed.

The Florida division, which was always discontiguous with Albertsons' main market, suffered a blow in June 2008 when Albertsons LLC entered into an agreement with Lakeland, Florida-based Publix stores to sell 49 Florida Albertsons locations to the chain. This included 15 stores in Northern and Northwest Florida, 30 locations in Central Florida, and four locations in South Florida. The sale was completed in September.[56] In April 2012, the company closed most of its stores in Florida.[57][58] The Plant City distribution center was sold to Gordon Food Service[59] though the Florida Division continued to be located there. By April 2012, only four stores remained in the entire state of Florida.[60]

The Rocky Mountain division slowly shed stores.[61][62][63] By April 2007, there were only 32 stores left in the state of Colorado.[64] In December 2007, SuperValu acquired the eight remaining Wyoming locations from Albertson's LLC not already owned by the company. These stores continued to operate under the Albertsons banner.[65] 2008 also brought the sale of Albertsons' lone South Dakota and Nebraska stores to Nash Finch.[66] In August 2009, the distribution center and division office closed and the 26 remaining stores moved to the Southwest division.[67]

Only the Southwest division was spared the major cuts suffered by the other divisions. On June 12, 2007, Albertson's LLC agreed to acquire all Raley's locations in New Mexico. The acquisition includes one closed and eight operating stores in Albuquerque and one store in Taos, thus doubling Albertsons store base in the Albuquerque region.[68]

In June 2007, Albertson's LLC decided to discontinue its Preferred Savings Card Program, choosing instead offer discounted items to all of its customers.[69] In September 2007, all Albertsons stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, and Florida markets began collecting their Albertsons Preferred Savings Cards.[70]

End of the First Generation of Albertsons Express[edit]

Beginning in 2008, Albertsons began exiting the fuel business, selling 72 of over one hundred Albertsons Express gas stations to Valero Energy, which converted most of them to Corner Store locations.[71] This wouldn't be the end though, as many Express stores still remained including Cheyenne, WY.[43] It wouldn't be until 2011-2013 that most of the Albertsons Express locations were divested under the Supervalu company. Even then, some locations including Hillsboro still displayed Albertsons Express banners.[22]

New Albertsons acquisition[edit]

While Albertsons LLC had restored its stores to profitability, SuperValu's New Albertsons Inc. had done poorly. While SuperValu did remodel many stores and open a few new stores, New Albertsons had shrunk. Of the 1100+ stores SuperValu acquired in 2006, less than 900 remained by 2013.[72] Under SuperValu, Bristol Farms had been sold off,[73] 36 Utah stores were sold to Associated Food Stores (leaving just three traditional Albertsons stores in the state),[74][75] the Wisconsin Jewel-Osco stores had been sold or closed,[76] as well as the Shaw's stores in Connecticut.[77] Additionally, like Albertsons LLC, most of the fuel stations had been shuttered or sold to other operators.[78]

On January 10, 2013, it was announced[79] that SuperValu was selling New Albertsons (Albertsons, ACME, Shaw's/Star Market, and Jewel-Osco, though they had previously sold off Bristol Farms in 2010) to Cerberus Capital Management. The deal was closed in March 2013.[12] On February 23, 2013, AB Acquisition announced it would split operations of the newly combined company into eight divisions: Northwestern, Intermountain, Southern California, Southern, Jewel-Osco, ACME, Shaw's, and Southwestern, and in March 2013, the deal was officially closed. On paper, Albertsons LLC controlled the Albertsons-branded stores and New Albertsons Inc. controlled ACME, Shaw's/Star Market, and Jewel-Osco, but it was operated as one company.

On June 11, 2013, Albertsons announced its plans to merge its duplicate websites, social media accounts and mobile apps onto one of each kind, ending the use of the Albertsons Market branding (though this was never used on store exteriors) and[80] While its website consolidation appeared to take place as expected, its applications received bad reviews[81]—but the biggest consequence was the mistaken deletion of their previous Facebook page and loss of over 200,000 fans. While no details were given as to the mistake made, Albertsons simply admitted that while attempting to join their Albertsons page with over 200,000 Likes and their Albertsons Market page with over 80,000 Likes, something went wrong resulting in the loss of thousands of Likes and comments.

That same month, Albertsons did away with the Preferred Savings Card in the former SuperValu stores that Albertsons LLC had dispensed with in 2007.[82] The cards briefly continued in Southern California stores before being discontinued in July 2013.

United Supermarkets acquisition[edit]

On September 9, 2013, the company acquired [83]Lubbock-based supermarket United Supermarkets LLC.[84] On February 4, 2014, the FTC voted 4–0 to approve the deal. The acquisition deal cost Albertsons $385 million and required Albertsons to sell its single stores in the Amarillo, Texas, and Wichita Falls, Texas, markets.[85] The United Supermarkets family brands include Market Street, Amigos, and United Express.[86]

After the deal was finalized, the Albertsons Market brand was revived for Albertsons stores operated by United. The first to be branded as such opened in Alamogordo, New Mexico, in January 2015.

Safeway acquisition[edit]

On February 19, 2014, Safeway began to explore selling itself, and by February 21, 2014, it was in advanced negotiations with Cerberus Capital Management.[87] On March 6, 2014, Cerberus (parent company of Albertsons) announced it would purchase Safeway for $9.4 billion in a deal expected to close in the 4th quarter of the year.[88]

On July 25, 2014, Safeway stockholders approved the merger with Albertsons.[6]

In December 2014, Albertsons announced that the Haggen Company, a Bellingham, Washington, based grocery chain, was buying 146 Safeway, Albertsons and Vons stores, as required by the antitrust review of the merger.[89]

On January 30, 2015, Albertsons officially acquired Safeway Inc. after being cleared by the FTC,[11] thus giving it control of the Safeway store banners, including Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs Safeway, Vons, and Pavilions, plus Safeway's 49% share of Casa Ley, a Mexican grocery chain.[90] Following the merger, Albertsons announced the new company would have 14 divisions led by three regional offices.[91]

East Region
North Region
  • Denver Division: North Region, existing Safeway Denver division with some Albertsons stores from Intermountain. Includes stores in most of Colorado (except for the Grand Junction stores which are part of Intermountain, and the Durango stores which are part of Southwest), the eastern two-thirds of Wyoming, all of Nebraska and South Dakota, and Farmington, New Mexico.
  • Intermountain Division: North Region, most of the existing Albertsons division with some Safeway stores from the Seattle Division. Includes all stores in North Dakota, most of Idaho except for the northern panhandle (which is part of the Seattle Division), most of Utah except for the far southern portion (which is part of the Southwest Division), northeastern Nevada, the western third of Wyoming, and stores in the Grand Junction, Colorado area.
  • Northern California Division: North Region, existing Safeway division (based in Pleasanton, CA). Includes stores in northern California and northwestern Nevada.
  • Portland Division: North Region, existing Safeway Portland division with Albertsons stores from Northwestern in Oregon. Includes the entire state of Oregon except for Ontario, plus Clark County, Washington.
  • Seattle Division: North Region, existing Safeway division with some Albertsons stores from Northwestern. Includes all stores in the state of Washington (except Clark County) and in the northern Idaho Panhandle.
South Region
  • Houston Division: South Region, existing Randalls/Tom Thumb division of Safeway, with the inclusion of South's Florida stores and southern Louisiana stores. Tom Thumb moved to Southern Division. Includes stores in Houston and Austin-areas and all Louisiana and Florida stores.
  • Southern Division: South Region, existing Albertsons South division (based in Fort Worth, TX) combined with Tom Thumb stores. Includes stores in northeastern Texas, northern Louisiana, and all of Arkansas.
  • Southern California Division: South Region, merged Vons Safeway division (excluding southern Nevada/Las Vegas stores, which became part of the new Southwest Division) with Albertsons division (based in Fullerton, CA). Includes stores in southern California.
  • Southwest Division: South Region, merged Southwest Safeway and Albertsons divisions (based in Phoenix, AZ). Includes all stores in Arizona, southern Nevada, and Utah, most of New Mexico (except for Farmington which is part of the Denver Division and southeastern New Mexico which is part of the United Division), and El Paso, Texas.
  • United Division: South Region, existing United division (based in Lubbock, TX). Includes stores in the Texas Panhandle and western Texas (excluding El Paso, which is part of the Southwest Division), and southeastern New Mexico.

Announcement and postponement of going public and A&P acquisition[edit]

After several months of rumors, the combined operation announced it would go public as Albertsons Companies, Inc. (the new name of AB Acquisition LLC). Albertsons attempted to IPO with the ticker ABS on October 14, 2015, planning to raise as much as $1.7 billion, selling 65.3 million shares with a range of $23 - $26 per share. However, the company postponed the listing due to market conditions, particularly after Wal-Mart warned of more challenged sales earlier that day. Albertsons has reportedly postponed the IPO indefinitely, as of October 2015.[1] All during this time, Albertsons continued to expand, purchasing 70 stores owned by the bankrupt Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (operating under the names of The Food Emporium, A&P, A&P Fresh, Superfresh, and Pathmark), which were quickly reopened as ACME stores after two-day store resets.[92][93]

Post-Safeway: Acquisitions, Conversions, Expansions, and Selloffs[edit]

As a result of the Albertsons-Safeway merger, Albertsons began to look to divest some stores in geographies where the merger could cause a high market share.[94] Some of these stores including one Albertsons and three Safeway stores in Wyoming were sold off to Ridley's Family Markets.[94][95]

Also at the time of the Albertsons-Safeway merger, the 18-store Pacific Northwest chain Haggen purchased 146 West Coast Vons, Pavilions, Albertsons, and Safeway locations that had to be sold due to anti-trust concerns, paying $300 million, plus spending $100 million to rebrand the stores. The FTC had hoped this would create a regional competitor for Albertsons.[96] On September 1, 2015, Haggen announced that the company had filed a lawsuit against Albertsons LLC and Albertsons Holdings LLC ("Albertsons") seeking more than $1 billion in damages.[97] The complaint, which was filed that day in United States District Court for the District of Delaware, alleged that following Haggen's December 2014 purchase of 146 Albertsons and Safeway stores, Albertsons engaged in "coordinated and systematic efforts to eliminate competition and Haggen as a viable competitor in over 130 local grocery markets in five states," and "made false representations to both Haggen and the FTC about Albertsons' commitment to a seamless transformation of the stores into viable competitors under the Haggen banner."[98]

A week later Haggen filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and began the process of closing all but a few dozen 'core' stores in the Pacific Northwest.[99][100] Albertsons would buy back 33 of the stores being sold at auction.[101] In January 2016, Albertsons settled the lawsuit, agreeing to pay $5.75 million to Haggen, and subsequently reached an agreement to acquire the remaining 29 'core' Haggen stores located in Washington and Oregon for $106 million, the deal being approved on March 29, 2016.[96] As part of the deal, 15 stores would still operate under the Haggen banner, with the rest converted to Albertsons locations.

During this time, the Albertsons family experienced further changes. On January 11, 2016, it was announced that the three remaining Albertsons stores in Florida, located in Largo, Altamonte Springs and Oakland Park, would be re-bannered as Safeway; this marked the first time that the Safeway brand would exist on a supermarket operation in Florida.[102] It would also re-align the stores toward the Eastern Division. In 2016, smaller acquisitions included Homedale, Idaho-based Paul's Market and Santa Rosa, California-based G&G Supermarkets. Both brands were closed before they were converted into Albertsons and Safeway stores, respectively. Additionally, the United Supermarkets subsidiary acquired seven locations from Sweetwater, Texas-based Lawrence Brothers. These were converted into United Supermarkets or Albertsons Market stores.[103] In late 2016, it was announced that Andronico's in the San Francisco area would be acquired as well. These stores would become "Safeway Community Markets" and still hold what made Andronico's unique, including chef-prepared items. When the first store reopened in February 2017 under the ownership of the Northern California division, it was still bannered as Andronico's due to an issue in obtaining local permits but the other stores were able to reopen as Safeway Community Markets.[104]

On February 17, 2017, the Randalls store in south Katy, Texas, serving the Cinco Ranch area closed. On March 6, 2017, shortly after the Katy Randalls closure, it was announced that the Houston-area distribution center near Cypress, Texas, would be closed and the operations consolidated in the Roanoke, Texas Tom Thumb distribution center in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex to supply the Houston and Austin-area stores instead. Also, the Houston Division offices would be folded into the legacy Albertsons' South Division offices in Fort Worth.[105] Additionally, the stores in the Albuquerque, New Mexico, market were realigned toward the United Supermarkets division.[106] On September 20, 2017, Albertsons acquired meal kit company Plated for $200 million.[107]

During the time after the Albertsons-Safeway merger, Albertsons was experimenting with different banners, converting many stores to Safeway, etc., including many Colorado Albertsons locations.[108] With this rebranding also came additional closures, such as Centennial, Colorado.[109] Some exceptions include Pueblo and Durango in Colorado, which are owned by a different division.[110]

Albertsons Express Makes Its Return (Fuel Expansion)[edit]

To start off 2018, Albertsons began to reenter the fuel market, opening a brand new Albertsons Express in Boise, ID at the site of a former Pizza Hut; this also introduced a new concept to the state of Idaho's gas stations, where the pumps are chip-credit-card enabled.[111] At least one Albertsons Express from the original generation of Albertson's fuel centers located in Hillsboro, OR[22] remained open in the relaunch of Albertsons Express. As of September 2021, there are exactly 7 Albertsons Express across America located in Idaho with three locations 3 locations; and Louisiana, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas with one location each.[112]

Additional Acquisitions and Closures after Albertsons Express' Comeback[edit]

On February 20, 2018, Albertsons announced plans to acquire Rite Aid, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.[113] In addition to retaining the stand-alone Rite Aid pharmacies, its Osco and Sav-on pharmacies located in Albertsons' existing stores were expected to be rebranded as Rite Aid pharmacies. On August 8, 2018, Rite Aid announced that the plan had failed to please shareholders and the proposed acquisition would be canceled.[114]

That same year, Albertsons closed several stores across multiple divisions, including all three Safeway stores in Florida. These stores were sold to Publix for an undisclosed price. With the closing, Albertsons officially exited the state, which it had been since the late 1970s when acquiring their Skaggs Albertsons stores,[115] as well as other stores across divisions. Additionally, the company divested its share in Casa Ley, selling it to Tenedora CL del Noroeste.[116]

Checkouts at an Albertsons during COVID-19

In 2019, Albertsons opened Albertsons Market Street in Meridian, Idaho, a flagship store located in a converted Shopko store and based on the Market Street brand of United Supermarkets. This became Albertsons largest store at 110,000 square feet and featured a variety of departments exclusive to the store or found rarely in the chain, including an oyster bar, a full bar area, and in-house sausages.[117] Additionally, around the same time, a new Andronico's Community Markets opened in Monterey, California, the first new store to be branded as such.[118]

In 2020, Albertsons announced the closing of a distribution center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, laying off up 520 people. Albertsons said its duties will be shifted to an existing distribution center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which will add up to 300 workers.[119] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Albertsons' total sales experienced a growth of 27% compared to the previous year. The rise in sales and higher traffic came as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; it made $22.8 billion in the second quarter of 2020.[120] Additionally, the company finally went public in June 2020 after years of delays. [121] The potential IPO for the company could be valued at around $19 billion.[122][123][124][125] During the time of going public, one more division change was announced when the Mid-Atlantic Division was created by combining Eastern and ACME Markets, and based out of ACME's headquarters in Malvern.[126] In October 2020, Albertsons submitted a winning bid for the Kings Food Markets/Balducci's chain. These were announced to be combined into the Mid-Atlantic Division.[127]


Albertsons grocery store logo

Albertsons operates stores under the following banners:[128]

  • Acme Markets (aka Acme): 162 locations (CT, DE, MD, NJ, NY and PA) [129][130]
  • Albertsons: 389 locations (AZ, AR, CA, CO, ID, LA, MT, NV, NM, ND, OR, TX, UT, WA and WY)[131]
  • Albertsons Market: 23 locations (NM)[132]
  • Amigos: 4 locations (TX)[133]
  • Andronico's: 7 locations (CA)[134]
  • Balducci's: 8 locations (CT, MD, NY, VA)[135]
  • Carrs: 11 locations (AK)[136]
  • Haggen: 15 locations (WA)[137]
  • Jewel-Osco: 188 locations (IL, IA, and IN)[138]
  • Kings Food Markets: 19 locations (CT, NJ, NY)[139]
  • Lucky: 4 locations (UT)[140]
  • Market Street: 19 locations (NM and TX)[141]
  • Pak 'n Save: 3 locations (CA)[142]
  • Pavilions: 26 locations (Southern California)[143]
  • Randalls: 31[144] locations (Greater Houston and Greater Austin, TX)[145]
  • Safeway: 905 locations (AK, AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, HI, ID, MD, MT, NE, NV, NM, OR, SD, VA, WA, WY)[146]
  • Shaw's: 129 locations (MA, ME, NH, RI and VT)[147]
  • Star Market: 21 locations (MA)[148]
  • Tom Thumb: 65[144] locations (Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, TX)[149]
  • United Supermarkets: 50 locations (Texas Panhandle) plus 39 United Express locations (NM and TX)[150]
  • Vons: 198 locations (Southern California and Southern Nevada)[151]

Former banners/chains/names:


Albertsons once owned several store brands ("private label" brands), often bearing the name of the chain sold under, e.g. "Jewel" brand products in the Jewel and Jewel-Osco locations. Other Albertsons brands over the years have included A+, Good Day, Janet Lee (named after the executive vice-president's daughter), Master's Choice, and Village Market. The drug store brands (used for health and beauty aids, over-the-counter medications, and intimate paper goods) were consolidated under the name "Equaline", rather than the previous "Sav-On Osco by Albertsons" brand. Albertsons introduced an upscale private label brand, "Essensia", in 2003, which was later renamed by SuperValu as Culinary Circle.

Store brand items in Albertsons stores included Albertsons (national brand quality food), Arctic Shores (frozen seafood), Baby Basics (diapers and infant care items), Culinary Circle ("gourmet" foods and ready-made meals), Equaline (health and beauty products), Farm Fresh (fresh produce), Flavorite (national brand quality foods, used throughout Supervalu stores), Homelife (national brand quality non-foods), Java Delight (coffee), Shoppers Value (value-priced items), Stockman & Dakota (high-quality beef), Stone Ridge (ice cream and sherbet), Super Chill (soft drinks and mixers), Whole Care Pet (pet foods and supplies), and Wild Harvest (natural and organic foods). In 2011, SuperValu announced it would eliminate Flavorite and all brands named after the chains it operates (such as Albertsons, Jewel, Shaw's, etc.) and would replace those labels with a new label, Essential Everyday.

After its purchase of Safeway, Albertsons began replacing some of its brands with Safeway's. O Organics and Open Nature replaced Wild Harvest, Pantry Essentials replaced Shoppers Value, and Refreshe replaced Super Chill. By late 2015, the remaining store brands were replaced with "Signature" (formerly Safeway Care, Farms, Home, and Kitchens). Albertsons started selling Lucerne dairy products, Mom To Mom baby products, and Priority Pet Food as well.

Albertsons Companies line of Own Brands [155] products launches 1,100 brand new items a year, making it one of the most diverse in-house brands in the country. Albertsons Companies' O Organics line is one of the nation's largest brand of USDA-certified organic products, with annual sales over $1 billion; it offers a wide array of products, giving every customer on every budget access to healthy, organic items.

Some of the brands in use are:

  • Signature Select - Main line of grocery products
  • Debi Lilly Design - Floral and home décor products
  • Lucerne Dairy Farms - Main dairy brand, used for ice cream, cheese, yogurt, and milk
  • O Organics - Organic products
  • Open Nature - 100% natural products
  • Primo Taglio - Deli brand for meat and cheese
  • Signature Cafe - Brand used for things sold at the Deli counter, soups, and refrigerated food made by the Deli and sold in the Deli Department
  • Signature Care - Home and wellness products
  • Signature Farms - Produce Department brand for fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Signature Reserve - Premium alternative to products in the Signature Select line
  • Value Corner - A cheaper alternative to products in the Signature Select/Lucerne line
  • waterfrontBISTRO - Frozen seafood products[156]


On average, stores in the Albertsons Companies range between 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) and 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2)[157] and almost universally feature a bakery, deli, meat counter, produce department, and seafood counter; many of the stores also feature in-store banks and pharmacies. Larger and newer stores may also offer enhanced amenities, including Starbucks coffee counters, prepared foods, in-store pizza, salad bars, and juice bars.[158][citation needed]



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Store albertsons grocery

COVID tests at the grocery store? San Diego’s Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions now offering at-home kits

Grocery stores Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions are now selling at-home COVID-19 tests throughout Southern California, including every location that has a pharmacy in San Diego.

The tests, which cost patients $140 and can’t be billed through insurance, aren’t just available straight off the shelves, however. Customers must first complete a short medical questionnaire from home. A store pharmacist will review the questionnaire, and, if necessary, contact the patient to schedule an in-store pickup or home delivery of the test.

The stores stressed that individuals showing symptoms of COVD-19 should not pick up their tests in-person. Instead, they should send “a representative or choose delivery,” according to a company statement.

The COVID-19 test kit available at San Diego pharmacy locations of Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions.

(Courtesy of Albertsons Companies)

“Customers appreciate the convenience and innovation of taking the test from their own home,” said Dan Salemi, group vice president of Albertsons Cos. Pharmacy. “The saliva test is easy to use and comfortable. Patients are never more than a phone call away from our pharmacy’s guidance and care. And the at-home model can help ease the burden on a stressed health care system.”

The tests sold by the grocery stores are one of the most common types, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. It checks for genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a person’s saliva rather than through a nasal swab. Patients spit in a tube, mail the test to a laboratory with a provided next-day shipping label and bag, and wait.

The Albertsons Companies, which own Vons and Pavilions, said results from the test can be expected in one to three days from the date the laboratory receives the packet. The patient’s results are delivered through text or email.

Made by an East Coast company called Phosphorus Diagnostics, the tests received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June. This authorization is not equivalent to an FDA approval, as it requires less rigorous data to prove its accuracy.

U-T reporter Jonathan Wosen contributed to this report.

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