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    Albertson's to Invest $1 Billion in Southern California Stores

    BOISE, Idaho - Albertson's Inc. today unveiled a major commitment to its future in Southern California by committing more than $1 billion in capital investment during the next three years for new stores and remodels.

    BOISE, Idaho - Albertson's Inc. today unveiled a major commitment to its future in Southern California, America's largest retail market, by committing more than $1 billion in capital investment during the next three years for new stores and remodels. The news came only a week after Wal-Mart said it plans to open as many as 40 Wal-Mart Supercenters in California over the next four to six years.

    The Albertson's food banner is currently the No. 1 or No. 2 retail food brand in each of the five major geographic market sectors that make up Southern California, and is also the No. 1 drugstore retailer across the entire region with its Sav-On brand, according to the company.

    "This is an exciting announcement for our customers, shareowners and associates. Southern California is America's largest retail market. It is a strategic market of choice that our company is committed to grow and strengthen, as we drive to extend our lead in the region. Now, with this major commitment, the future looks even brighter," said Larry Johnston, Albertson's chairman and CEO.

    "With this commitment, we will immediately begin to implement plans that will drive a powerful dual branding strategy utilizing a unique new Albertson's/Sav-On combination format across the region," said Peter Lynch, Albertson's president and COO. "Consumers in Southern California will benefit tremendously from the combination of these two powerful brand names, as we offer the best food store and the best drugstore under one roof ... while shareowners will benefit as market share grows and return on invested capital accelerates in our largest market."

    Albertson's started the combination food and drugstore concept with its Jewel-Osco format in the Chicagoland area, and it has grown to become the largest, and most profitable, division in the company.

    Following a decision last year to extend the combination format, the company began two pilots outside Chicago in Tucson and Reno. Here the company used the Albertson's food brand and married it with both the Sav-On drug brand in Reno and the Osco drug brand in Tucson. After a successful pilot, a rollout then began into Phoenix and Omaha.

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