The combined Albertsons–Safeway team in Southern California overseeing the Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions banner stores had a clear message for its vendor partners in the region: the company’s No. 1 priority is sales.
Southern California Division President Lori Raya and other members of the leadership team spoke to the company’s SoCal vendors during a meeting Wednesday at the Irvine Marriott.
The division has 343 stores within 500 miles and is largest division of the newly combined 2,230-store company and holds the largest market share in the region. The Southern California Division also includes 212 pharmacies, 205 Starbucks, 30,000 employees, five distribution centers (Brea, Irvine, Mira Loma, El Monte and Santa Fe Springs) and three plants.
Raya said, “We’ve been together 30 days; we’re in a time of discovery…we want to be very careful with both of our companies—we have great brands in our Vons brand, our Albertsons brand, worth millions. The key thing we want from all of you, and we are doing ourselves, telling our people every day, is we need to keep running great stores and we need to keep selling your products. That’s the No. 1 focus—keep selling product. And we can’t disrupt that because both companies have such great momentum. We don’t want to slow that down.”
Decisions will be made locally in each division of the combined company, so decisions for the Southern California Division will be made in Fullerton, for example, and decisions for Northern California, which is made up entirely of Safway bannered stores, will be made in Pleasanton.
Greg McNiff, who is SVP of marketing and merchandising, urged the vendors to partner with the company to sell product.
According to the Southern California Division leadership team, combining Albertsons and Safeway better positions the company for long-term growth.
Raya told vendors that the company expects to be able to adapt more quickly to evolving shopping preferences, is better positioned to respond to increasing competition and has improved retail and supply chain assets, including a broader assortment of product, enhanced efficiency, better fresh and perishable offerings and expanded access to Safeway’s Own Brands. Additionally, the merger drives cost savings, she said, which translates to customer value.
With the “the combined company and supply chain, we will be able to leverage for cost and synergies,” Raya said. “You will certainly be excited about the Own Brands and expanding that into our Albertsons stores and growing even more in our Vons stores.”
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