Supermarket slump?

In previous "mergers" of this sort, the stores that were sold off were selected as part of an anti-trust, anti-reduction of competition settlement. About 15 years ago, the formerly-publicly-traded Albertson's decided, most unwisely it turned out, to acquire American Stores which did business here as Lucky and Sav-on Drugs. To satisfy the Federal Trade Commission, they had to dispose of a number of locations which were bought by Stater Bros in San Diego County. I was told, and it made sense in light of what happened, that the FTC staff selected the stores to be sold off. In Vista, Albertson's lost both of their own stores, built to their design and both new, and kept three Lucky locations. Of those three, only one was a "keeper", and the other two were stinkers, one just too small to call a supermarket in the era. Stater Bros smoothly took over the SD County locations, and seems to be doing just fine, and had no post-takeover crisis that was ever reported. (The same could not be said for Albertson's which went through a self-dismemberment a few years later.) So, I wonder about your assertion that Cerebrus decided which stores to peddle to Haggen. My take is that another entity was needed to take excess stores, and a different private equity group bought a tiny chain of supers in Bellingham, WA, and tried to grow it far too rapidly. What was Haggen before all this happened, a 12-store operation? And it was rapidly expanded with over 100 So Cal supers? That's what I recall. And if so, it was a sure candidate for failure. That business is too unforgiving of missteps, too competitive, and too locally-oriented for an outsider to roll into town and hit the ground running. I'm not surprised at these revelations, and actually predicted they would struggle, and that was without knowing anything about Haggen.
— July 17, 2015 6:20 a.m.

UCSD's costly ad switch: Chargers to Trolley

Once again, as I began to read this blog post, I had that uncanny feeling that it was a Mencken piece. But no, it wasn't that at all, and sounds legit, if very hard to believe. This is the first indication I had that the new Trolley extension up through UCSD and then to UTC would be part of the Blue Line. (In case you don't know, that's the line from Old Town south to the border. Not exactly a silk-stocking route.) UCSD over many years was a big opponent of the Trolley coming north and serving the campus. Oh, as PC types, the opposition was never about the unwashed coming to their campus, or anything that might insinuate that ordinary working stiffs (i.e. poor) needed to get to work on campus. No, the opposition for a couple decades was based on other and less obvious grounds. But in the past two or three years, UCSD embraced the idea of the Trolley, and now even plans to have it serve the campus and the VA complex on the west side of I-5. (I'd always figured they wanted it only as long as it stayed east of I-5 and barely grazed the part of campus that was also on the east side.) The dollar figure mentioned here by Matt is just over-the-top. I mean, who looks at those red trolleys? Who rides them? Does any of this jibe with the image that UCSD is trying to create and maintain? The difference may be due to their attempt to make the medical facilities, including the old Hillcrest hospital, appear to be 21st century. Remember that for oldsters like myself, that facility was once called County Hospital, and it wasn't all that well-regarded. In fact it was seen as the hospital of last resort. These awkward-sounding "sponsor" names and some of the other features just don't make a lot of sense. To promote the hospitals and other facilities, you need something that is pointed and clear. Hanging a fancy name on the Old Town Station doesn't change it at all. It merely confuses Trolley and Coaster users who aren't all that up on such names. A bunch of other similarly renamed station stops and features won't make the riders feel more comfortable. What this all will do is confuse and obfuscate. There are far cheaper ways to obfuscate.
— July 14, 2015 8:56 p.m.

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