As Company Prepares IPO, One Industry Expert Says Albertsons Could Use An Updated Strategy

Jul 9, 2015

Boise-based Albertsons filed this week to offer stock for public sale. Albertsons became one of the largest food retailers in the country early this year when it closed on its acquisition of Safeway. 

Frank Dell is an analyst and consultant for the food industry and founder of Dellmart and Company. He also consulted for Albertsons in the early 1990s. He says by the 2000s, the company's strategy was starting to feel dated. 

While other chains focused on one group of shoppers – think Walmart at one end of the spectrum and Whole Foods at the other – Dell says Albertson’ stuck to the traditional supermarket model of trying to be all things to all people. He says now - after nearly a decade of being bought, sold, split and merged - the company still hasn’t changed its strategy much.

“If management is all worried about splitting the company, putting the company back together, who’s looking at the consumer?” Dell asks. “You know, the direction of the company: ‘What are we doing that makes us different than the supermarket next door?'”

But Dell says the Albertsons merger with Safeway gives the Boise company more potential to adapt. Its size, he says, means it can buy cheaper from its suppliers.

He says the Albertsons side can help the Safeway stores create a more pleasant shopping environment and Safeway can teach Albertsons a lot about data mining customers and making a successful store brand. That’s something he says Albertsons needs to do if it wants to compete with chains like Trader Joes.

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