The Vons Companies shares Southern California's crowded dinner table with some big and hungry rivals. The company operates about 275 stores primarily in Southern California, which is also home to Ralphs and Food 4 Less (both owned by Kroger) and privately-held Stater Bros. Its supermarkets operate under the Vons (traditional supermarkets) and Pavilions (upscale supermarkets) banners. More than half of its supermarkets offer separate service departments for floral, bakery, and deli products, while some have full-service pharmacies and dry-cleaning departments. The company operates its own facilities for producing milk, ice cream, and baked goods. Vons' parent company, Safeway, was acquired by Albertson's in 2015.
Change in Ownership
In January 2015, parent company Safeway was acquired by Albertsons for a total price of $9.2 billion. The deal expanded Albertson's reach in the Bay Area and Northern California, where Safeway had 251 stores.
In December of that year, Albertson's began to shed some of Vons' stores in Los Angeles with the sale of 28 Albertsons, Pavilion, and Vons stores to Haggen Food & Pharmacy. By March 2015, Haggen had acquired 83 Vons and Albertsons stores in California, which would be converted to Haggen-branded stores.
Vons.com offers online shopping and delivery services to customers in the San Gabriel Valley and other areas of Southern California and as well as the Greater Las Vegas, Nevada, area. Vons.com is operated by GroceryWorks.
Vons operates about 260 stores in Southern California and another 14 in Nevada. Major markets for the chain include Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, and Las Vegas.
Caught between Wal-Mart Supercenters on the low end and Whole Foods Market on the pricey side, traditional grocery chains, including Vons, have begun reinventing themselves to maintain market share. To that end, Vons has converted many of its stores in Orange County to its parent Safeway's Lifestyle format, which is designed to rival upscale chains by featuring expanded selections of perishable foods, organic products, and other high-end amenities.
However, after the deep recession in the US, many Vons shoppers apparently are opting for low prices over amenities. As a result, the regional supermarket chain has seen its customer buying less, trading down to less expensive brands, and increasingly shopping at discounters, such as Wal-Mart Supercenters and limited assortment ALDI. The company is pushing its private-label brand merchandise to lure budget conscious shoppers.
To pamper its customers, Vons offers in-store banking facilities, one-hour photo labs, video rentals, and store-within-a-store restaurants in some supermarkets. Its roughly 30 Pavilions stores feature larger selections of meat, seafood, and wine (and even provide wine stewards). Pavilions also feature in-store Panda Express Chinese fast-food restaurants.
Like other Safeway-owned chains, Vons sells its parent company's lines of dairy products and other private-label merchandise under the Safeway SELECT, Signature, O Organics, and Rancher's Reserve brands, among others.