Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Gargantuan grocery-store shakeup

Cerberus owns Albertsons owns Vons/Safeway

La Costa store
La Costa store

The merger between Albertsons supermarkets and the parent company of Vons — Safeway — will cause the closing of numerous stores in San Diego County, it was recently announced.

To avoid lack-of-competition pressure from the Federal Trade Commission, it was announced that 25 local stores would have to be closed as part of the merger deal. The supermarket locations will be sold and reopened as Haggen — an 80-year-old Washington-based chain.

The $9 billion purchase of the 1335 Safeway stores, operating under six brand names (including Vons and Pavilions in Southern California), was announced last July. Industry experts predicted at the time that not much would change within the individual stores. That is showing to be uncertain with the sell-off of 168 store locations in the 20-state chain.

Industry watchers are not sure the merger will have a positive effect on the consumer, especially with the competition offered by the expanding grocery operations of lower-priced Costco, Target, and Walmart, and the increasing popularity of specialty stores such as Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods.

To the average grocery shopper, Albertsons is generally thought to be the highest-priced major supermarket chain. It does not have a customer loyalty club-card discount program. The company has been volatile since 2006, when stores began to close and the company was sold and reorganized by various owners.

The equity investment firm Cerberus Capital Management now owns Albertsons. Cerberus likes to buy and sell big businesses and is into everything from bus manufacturing, financial services, and banks; restaurants, hotels, and resorts; and a film production company. At one time they owned both Alamo and National rental car corporations and Mervyns department stores.

Interviewed on January 3 at the La Costa Albertsons on the corner of El Camino Real and La Costa Avenue, customer Maureen said she is not happy about her store being on the closure list. She identified herself as Albertsons' “best shopper.” But she said the employees inside seem to be happy about switching to Haggen.

However, two courtesy clerks said their union reps had not told them anything about which store they will be working for. Haggen officials have stated they hope Albertsons and Vons employees join their organization and keep each local store’s team in place.

Julie said she shops at Albertsons regularly, but only because they carry three or four items that she buys. “If the new store doesn’t sell them, there would be no reason for me to shop here,” she said. Customer Jason said, “As long as the new store sells food, I’ll be happy.”

If Albertsons eliminates Safeway/Vons branding, it will be the end of an era. In 1926, Safeway became the largest grocery chain with locations in almost every state west of the Mississippi. Vons started in downtown Los Angeles in 1906 and by 1928 had 87 stores throughout Southern California.

However, Albertsons needs to be careful of how much change is forced on the Southern California grocery consumer. Grocery shoppers are loyal to their preferred stores. Just ask the former owners of Smith’s Food King, a Utah-based chain that had plans in 1995 to infiltrate SoCal with up to 60 food and drug stores. Most closed shortly after their failed attempt.

The announced list of soon-to-be Haggen stores include 8 Vons stores in Chula Vista, El Cajon, La Mesa, and San Marcos, along with 17 Albertsons locations in Carlsbad, Coronado, Del Mar, El Cajon, Poway, Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, San Ysidro, and Santee.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Two poems by Julia Wehner

A reminder of how richly good it is to feel, and to live
La Costa store
La Costa store

The merger between Albertsons supermarkets and the parent company of Vons — Safeway — will cause the closing of numerous stores in San Diego County, it was recently announced.

To avoid lack-of-competition pressure from the Federal Trade Commission, it was announced that 25 local stores would have to be closed as part of the merger deal. The supermarket locations will be sold and reopened as Haggen — an 80-year-old Washington-based chain.

The $9 billion purchase of the 1335 Safeway stores, operating under six brand names (including Vons and Pavilions in Southern California), was announced last July. Industry experts predicted at the time that not much would change within the individual stores. That is showing to be uncertain with the sell-off of 168 store locations in the 20-state chain.

Industry watchers are not sure the merger will have a positive effect on the consumer, especially with the competition offered by the expanding grocery operations of lower-priced Costco, Target, and Walmart, and the increasing popularity of specialty stores such as Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods.

To the average grocery shopper, Albertsons is generally thought to be the highest-priced major supermarket chain. It does not have a customer loyalty club-card discount program. The company has been volatile since 2006, when stores began to close and the company was sold and reorganized by various owners.

The equity investment firm Cerberus Capital Management now owns Albertsons. Cerberus likes to buy and sell big businesses and is into everything from bus manufacturing, financial services, and banks; restaurants, hotels, and resorts; and a film production company. At one time they owned both Alamo and National rental car corporations and Mervyns department stores.

Interviewed on January 3 at the La Costa Albertsons on the corner of El Camino Real and La Costa Avenue, customer Maureen said she is not happy about her store being on the closure list. She identified herself as Albertsons' “best shopper.” But she said the employees inside seem to be happy about switching to Haggen.

However, two courtesy clerks said their union reps had not told them anything about which store they will be working for. Haggen officials have stated they hope Albertsons and Vons employees join their organization and keep each local store’s team in place.

Julie said she shops at Albertsons regularly, but only because they carry three or four items that she buys. “If the new store doesn’t sell them, there would be no reason for me to shop here,” she said. Customer Jason said, “As long as the new store sells food, I’ll be happy.”

If Albertsons eliminates Safeway/Vons branding, it will be the end of an era. In 1926, Safeway became the largest grocery chain with locations in almost every state west of the Mississippi. Vons started in downtown Los Angeles in 1906 and by 1928 had 87 stores throughout Southern California.

However, Albertsons needs to be careful of how much change is forced on the Southern California grocery consumer. Grocery shoppers are loyal to their preferred stores. Just ask the former owners of Smith’s Food King, a Utah-based chain that had plans in 1995 to infiltrate SoCal with up to 60 food and drug stores. Most closed shortly after their failed attempt.

The announced list of soon-to-be Haggen stores include 8 Vons stores in Chula Vista, El Cajon, La Mesa, and San Marcos, along with 17 Albertsons locations in Carlsbad, Coronado, Del Mar, El Cajon, Poway, Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, San Ysidro, and Santee.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

When it's too hot for soup at Pho Ca Dao

Summery dishes fit for outdoor dining on a summer day in Mission Valley
Next Article

NPR Livestream: The Dears, To Tame a Wild Tongue Charla (Talk), Cinema Under the Stars: Midnight In Paris

Events July 16-July 17, 2020
Comments
7

Haggen is owned by a different private equity group, and has been a small operation up until now. While the supermarket chains were generally publicly traded for decades or were part of publicly traded corporations, now this private ownership pattern is spreading. In the past couple years, Albertson's has shuttered a number of stores in So Cal, and Von's has closed a few. In the coming few years, if this combination of Albertson's and Safeway (includng its variants) is successful, Cerebrus will then want to take it public again via a public stock offering. And the other group that owns Haggen now will likely do the same. But if you don't look closely, either or both of those IPO's could be a poor investment.

There is a proliferation of supermarkets and other food stores in the marketplace, and many are offering better products and better service at lower prices than the legacy supers. We have one here in Vista that just recently opened another store in Oceanside, called Frazier Farms. It is rather similar to Sprouts, except the prices are usually better. It's no cakewalk to rejuvenate those older supermarket operations, and this may not fly.

Jan. 6, 2015

Yes, Albertsons is generally higher priced than Ralphs or Vons. I've been told that Haggen is higher in prices than all three! That may have to change, or Haggen may find itself losing a fierce battle when it enters the competitive California grocery arena. The big boys play rough. FYI, former vice president Dan Quayle is a major player at Cerberus Capital.

Jan. 6, 2015

Gee, I hadn't thought about Quayle or his newspaper-owning family, the Pulliams, in a long time. So, is Danny a strategist,or just a figurehead? He never came across as either a big boy or anyone who played "rough." The outcome of the '92 presidential race might have been different if Dan-o had voluntarily stepped aside as running mate.

Jan. 6, 2015

Danny boy is chairman of their Global Investment Division. Good thing he took latin in college, cuz he's serving clients in Latin America.

Jan. 6, 2015

From what I have read Haggen is well liked in Washington. Their prices vary and for the most part are in the range of most stores. The Vons closest to me will be a Haggen. This store was one of the smallest Vons and is old and tired. A good remodel and a new owner will be a good thing. There is some good info on the Haggen website.

Jan. 7, 2015

Does anyone know the fate of the employees? Will they all be retained, and will the new owners recognize their union and honor their contract?

Jan. 7, 2015

Reportedly all employees including store managers will be asked to stay on, and union contracts will not change. This was required as part of the deal.

Jan. 7, 2015

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close