Safeway Connects with Lifestyles
By George Anderson
By most accounts, Safeway’s lifestyle concept stores have been a hit with consumers from one coast to the other.
Some analysts have expressed concern over the costs of remodeling stores but the new look Safeways have seemed to connect with consumers.
Making that connection has been various parts art and science, say company executives. It has included typical changes, such as expanding perishables and organic products while going to a warmer interior feel with softer lighting and greater use of wood fixtures.
The company has also tried different merchandising approaches, for example: instead of placing dishwashing detergent in the same aisle as laundry detergent, it has placed the dish soap with dishware. Laundry detergent is in another aisle altogether.
Karl Schroeder, president of Safeway’s Northern California division, told the Inside Bay Area web site, “Some of this stuff we’re trying is still experimental.”
Bear, Stearns and Co. analyst Robert Summers is encouraged about the new format’s prospects. He recently wrote in a letter to investors: “The sales recovery story possesses credibility, in our opinion. The lifestyle brand appears to be resonating with consumers.”
Moderator’s Comment: Is the lifestyle store concept the answer to the challenges faced by Safeway? Will remodels
in areas where Safeway has lost shoppers, such as Chicago, Texas and Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey, be able to reverse the damage done in those places? –
George Anderson – Moderator