Supermarket operator Albertson's LLC is on a yo-yo diet. After shrinking dramatically, the grocery chain is back in growth mode. The company operates more than 1,100 supermarkets in some 15 states under the Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's/Star Market, Acme, and United banners, among others. Albertson's LLC was formed in 2006 when the assets of Albertsons Inc. were sold to three separate companies, including wholesaler SUPERVALU, which acquired the majority of the stores. In 2013, Albertsons bought those stores back from SUPERVALU and has since gone on to make other acquisitions. The grocery chain traces its roots to 1939 when Joe Albertson opened his first grocery store in Boise, Idaho.
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons LLC operates stores in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Albertsons' stores rang up an estimated $23 billion in sales in 2013.
Albertsons LLC hews to a decentralized operating strategy that empowers local management to build stronger brands across diverse market areas. That strategy should come in handy when Albertsons LLC's parent company, AB Acquisition LLC, completes the acquisition of California grocery-giant Safeway for $9.4 billion in 2014. Post-sale, Safeway will be run by Albertsons LLC's CEO Bob Miller.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In a move that reversed the downward slide in its store count, Albertson's greatly expanded its presence in Texas with the purchase of 50 supermarkets and three distributions centers (among other assets) from family-owned and Lubbock-based United Supermarkets. The deal (the terms of which were not disclosed) closed in October 2013. United operates as an independent unit of Albertson's. Albertson's, which has about 75 stores in Texas, should benefit from United's strong reputation in north and west Texas. The acquired stores continue to do business under the United, Market Street, and Amigos banners. The purchase is a reversal of sorts for Albertson's, whose recent history has been marked by retreat from some markets, including California and Utah, and big cutbacks in others, such as Colorado, Florida, and Texas.
In March 2013 Albertson's LLC acquired all of the remaining Albertson's grocery stores in California, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Oregon, Wyoming, and Utah that were formerly owned by SUPERVALU. The purchase included 877 stores in all.
Albertson's LLC is one of two divisions of AB Acquisition LLC, which is owned by the New York-based private equity Cerberus Capital Management and four real estate companies. AB Acquisition LLC has agreed to acquire another greatly diminished grocery operator, Safeway, for $9.4 billion.