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    Safeway CFO Says Industry Shifts Could Offer Chain 'Acquisition Opportunities'

    PLEASANTON, Calif. - The chief financial officer at Safeway, based here, offered confirmation yesterday that acquisitions are in the chain's quiver as it watches consolidation roil the supermarket industry in the near future.

    PLEASANTON, Calif. - The chief financial officer at Safeway, based here, offered confirmation yesterday that acquisitions are in the chain's quiver as it watches consolidation roil the supermarket industry in the near future.

    "As a result of consolidation in this industry, there may be some acquisition opportunities," said Robert Edwards, Safeway's c.f.o., speaking at a Bank of America conference at the New York Palace hotel in New York City.

    Edwards' observations followed on the heels of Safeway c.e.o., president, and chairman Steve Burd's own comments at the latest earnings conference call in February that the chain will make some acquisitions "down the road."

    Edwards also said yesterday that Safeway is focusing on expanding into new markets overseas, citing Europe as well as "other geographies."

    On the home front, Edwards boasted that the company was prepared for Tesco's entrance into its market. "They have no brand equity here, no market share, and they are moving into markets in which we have considerable success against some formidable competitors," he said.

    Safeway operates 1,767 stores in the United States and Canada, and had sales of $39.7 billion for the period ended Sept. 9, 2006.

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