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    Safeway¿s New Strategy Starts to Deliver

    PLEASANTON, Calif. ¿ If yesterday's sales figures are any indication, Safeway was right on target in developing the "quality perishables, strong proprietary brands, redesigned stores, and world-class service" the retailer touted yesterday as the foundation of its new image.

    PLEASANTON, Calif. – If yesterday's sales figures are any indication, Safeway was right on target in developing the "quality perishables, strong proprietary brands, redesigned stores, and world-class service" the retailer touted yesterday as the foundation of its new image.

    "Safeway's strong sales performance in the quarter marks a key inflection point in the company's reinvention and underscores our confidence in the effectiveness of our overall strategy," said Steve Burd, chairman, president, and c.e.o. in a statement.

    Preliminary sales results for the first quarter ended March 26 show total sales increased approximately 12 percent to $8.6 billion, up from $7.7 billion in the first quarter of 2004. Sales in the latest quarter were impacted by a strike in southern California that covered eight weeks of a 12-week quarter.

    Excluding sales at strike-affected stores, comparable store sales increased 4.4 percent and identical store sales climbed 4.0 percent. Further excluding fuel sales, comparable store sales increased 3.2 percent and identical store sales increased 2.8 percent.

    Easter sales predominantly occurred in the last week of the quarter, versus the second quarter in 2004, and had a beneficial impact on the full quarter. When adjusting for the holiday, non-fuel identical store sales increased 1.6 percent.

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