Jewel-Osco operates about 175 combination food-and-drug stores mostly in Illinois, but also in Indiana, and Iowa. The regional chain is the largest seller of groceries in Chicago, with more than 30 stores there and a 30% share of the market. The company also runs about 30 fuel centers. Started as the Jewel Tea Company in 1899 and long accustomed to being #1 in a two-company market, Jewel-Osco is fighting to stay on top of an increasingly crowded Chicago grocery scene. Jewel-Osco is owned by an investor group led by Cerberus Capital Management, which acquired the grocery chain from SUPERVALU in 2013.
Jewel-Osco (along with four other grocery chains) was bought by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management in January 2013 from grocery wholesaler SUPERVALU. SUPERVALU purchased Jewel-Osco in 2006 as part of its purchase of more than 1,100 stores from Albertson's. (Albertsons acquired Jewel when it bought American Stores in 1999.) Jewel-Osco is now part of New Albertsons Inc., a division of Boise, Idaho-based AB Acquisition LLC, which is owned by an investor consortium led by Cerberus.
To stay on top of Chicago's rapidly changing grocery arena, Jewel-Osco reopened a remodeled store in downtown Chicago in fall 2013, the first of 25 remodels planned for the market that feature expanded service and more perishable offerings and specialty products. The recent change in ownership is also expected to result in the closing or sale of underperforming Jewel-Osco stores.
There's no shortage of challengers for Jewel-Osco's top spot in Chicago, although the company is getting a break of sorts with the demise of rival Dominick's Finer Foods. (Dominick's owner Safeway is exiting the Chicago market with the sale and closure of its Dominick's stores there.) Indeed, Jewel-Osco's parent company acquired four Dominick's stores in October 2013 and plans to reopen them under the Jewel-Osco banner in January 2014. Other grocery chains capitalizing on the demise of Dominick's include Chicago newcomer Roundys, which will reopen a dozen stores it purchased under its new Mariano's banner.) Chicago has become an magnet for grocery companies looking to expand. Relative newcomers include Wal-Mart Stores, which has announced plans to open several dozen of its supercenters in the area through 2015, and Roundys. Grocery-and-general-merchandise-giant Meijer is also very active in and around Chicago.
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