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Grocery shake-up raises bagful of questions
Sacramento Bee ^ | 2/19/6 | Jon Ortiz

Posted on 02/19/2006 3:39:51 PM PST by SmithL

Northern California's food fight is coming to a store near you.

It's already hit Mary Thomatos, a loyal Albertsons customer until the chain closed its J Street store near her east Sacramento home last summer.

Now the future of the other 25 Albertsons in the Sacramento region is in doubt after their parent company was sold last month. With Ralphs Supermarkets closing eight area stores soon, the grocery landscape is shifting so rapidly that by summer many consumers may no longer recognize their neighborhood store. Such change, those in the industry say, is something most of us should get used to.

Here's how the area's grocery chain scorecard looks as of now:

Ralphs: Gone as of early April.

Albertsons: In trouble. Changes, including store closures, are possible by summer as new owners take over.

Raley's, Nugget and Safeway: Surviving - but looking warily over their shoulders.

What does it mean for shoppers?

* Lower prices, as more of Wal-Mart's tires-to-toothpaste Supercenters open locally.

* Fewer traditional grocery stores, farther apart, with survivors retooling to compete.

* More niche stores with unique goods and atmosphere.

* Non-grocery businesses filling spaces vacated by departing food stores.

Thomatos said she's not a Wal-Mart fan and hopes the world's largest retailer doesn't exploit Albertsons' and Ralphs' woes to further elbow its way into the region.

"I hate to see Wal-Mart beat up on the little guy," she said.

But it's Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., that is forcing most of the changes in the industry, locally and nationally. The company "always has its nose in the wind and smells opportunity when it's there," said Michael Banks, owner and partner of Las Vegas-based retail consultant Select Marketing LLC. "They're going to sense an opening and move in."

(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: albertsons; capitalism; grocery; grocerystores; kroger; ralphs; retail; safeway; walmart
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I'll miss Albertson's only because they provide competition to the stores where I shop.
1 posted on 02/19/2006 3:39:52 PM PST by SmithL
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To: SmithL

Are these union stores that are closing? The story doesn't seem to want to discuss that.


2 posted on 02/19/2006 3:42:00 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: SmithL

Ralph's and Trader Joe's kicked much Antelope.


3 posted on 02/19/2006 3:46:17 PM PST by CheyennePress
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To: SmithL

I went to Wally for groceries today. It didn't even have half of what I wanted. If grocery stores want to compete, maybe they should carry what Wally won't. I'm not going to stand in line for fifteen minutes, which I did today, to save less than five bucks, especially when I've got to go somewhere else to finish my shopping.


4 posted on 02/19/2006 3:50:48 PM PST by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: SmithL
"I hate to see Wal-Mart beat up on the little guy," she said.

Ah, yes....it's Walmart who puts 'the little guy' out of business....NOT the shopper who shops at Walmart instead of 'the little guy'.

/sarc

5 posted on 02/19/2006 3:53:34 PM PST by Lizavetta
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To: SmithL
But it's Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., that is forcing most of the changes in the industry, locally and nationally

How profound. As if WalMart is the only organization that ever caused change to occur. How many people complained that the light bulb caused change from oil lamps? Geeze.

6 posted on 02/19/2006 3:59:56 PM PST by taxesareforever (Government is running amuck)
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To: mewzilla

Was that a Wal-Mart Superstore, with meat and fresh vegetables, and a full line of groceries, or was it a regular store with a few aisles of food and milk?


7 posted on 02/19/2006 4:02:07 PM PST by ansel12
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To: mewzilla
I went to Wally for groceries today. It didn't even have half of what I wanted. If grocery stores want to compete, maybe they should carry what Wally won't. I'm not going to stand in line for fifteen minutes, which I did today, to save less than five bucks, especially when I've got to go somewhere else to finish my shopping.

It all depends on how important it is for you to save money.... you have to comparision shop for the best prices.

Brand name Triscuits cost $3.59 at Shop Rite. I get them for $2.99 at Walmart. I pay $1.89 for V8 Splashers at Walmart that cost more than $3.00 elsewhere.

In total I save AT LEAST $40.00/month shopping at Wal-MArt.

If $40/month is nothing to you, then by all means send it to me :)

8 posted on 02/19/2006 4:05:47 PM PST by Jorge
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To: taxesareforever

I think Albertsons is the biggest grocery conglomerate around, not exactly your little neighborhood grocer...


9 posted on 02/19/2006 4:12:33 PM PST by cfrels
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To: SmithL
Albertson's is a great store because of variety of products and the ability to check your own order. Plus my local store has a milf-ish brunette with beautiful *long* hair and twinkly eyes...
10 posted on 02/19/2006 4:14:43 PM PST by steveo (No Anchovies? You've got the wrong man, I spell my name steveo...)
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To: SmithL

This is a big problem in CA due to the unions, I bet.


11 posted on 02/19/2006 4:18:55 PM PST by Brilliant
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To: SmithL

I went grocery shopping at a relatively new Wal-Mart today where I live. It was clean, beautiful, spacious, and the prices were far less than the other two major grocery store chains in the area. The employees were very friendly.

40-45 years ago "supermarkets" ran the little grocers, butchers, and bread stores out of business. Where's the pity for ma'n'pa grocer with two aisles and limited selection today?

I didn't realize Safeway was still in business. They left my area 20 years ago after unions ruined them.

When I lived in another part of the country, I liked to shop at Albertson's because in the late afternoon they would always have fresh baked bread awaiting customers as they walked in the door. I'll always remember that.


12 posted on 02/19/2006 4:20:10 PM PST by D-Chivas
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To: mewzilla
"If grocery stores want to compete, maybe they should carry what Wally won't. I'm not going to stand in line for fifteen minutes, which I did today, to save less than five bucks, especially when I've got to go somewhere else to finish my shopping."

Amen, brother. Amen.

13 posted on 02/19/2006 4:21:23 PM PST by RightOnline
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To: SmithL

Why are these idiots always complaining about Wal-Mart selling food and running grocery chains out of business? Whole Foods Markets is growing like gang-busters, and no one complains about them putting ma-'n-pa gourmet shops out of business. Maybe it's because Whole Foods sells to college-educated folks?



14 posted on 02/19/2006 4:23:55 PM PST by LibFreeOrDie (L'Chaim!)
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To: SmithL

We shop at Walmart because we can save money and with the money we save, buy more groceries. Seems fair to me.


15 posted on 02/19/2006 4:24:37 PM PST by Dustbunny (Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans)
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To: SmithL

We go to Safeway, Albertsons, Frys, Bashas etc depending on what they have on sale. Walmart is almost alway cheaper in general and their produce is fresh (shipped direct from ol Mehee-Ko). All supermarket chains should consider closing all their stores in union states. Let em have to go out and kill it and grill it for all their foodstuffs...see how much they like the unions then.


16 posted on 02/19/2006 4:26:17 PM PST by Kokojmudd (Outsource the US Senate to Mexico! Put Walmart in charge of all Federal agencies!)
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To: Jorge

I was buying our favorite chili at Kroger's for $1.40 a can. It is 79 cents at Walmart. Alouette cheese dip is $5.40 at Kroger, and $3.50 at Walmart.

We do the same thing, choose those products that we use a lot and stock up at WM. With 4 kids, it is a significant savings.


17 posted on 02/19/2006 4:26:32 PM PST by Politicalmom (Must I use a sarcasm tag?)
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To: SmithL
Can't compete with super expensive union labor against the likes of Walmart.
The price conscious consumer is the winner.
Recall this once go for it all Grocer's strike that went nowhere for labor.
One of the main issues were medical costs which then already went up to $500 per month and employee.
Wages for checkers run up to $25,000.
The consumer won, Walmart stood firm, result:
More purchasing power to the consumer.
18 posted on 02/19/2006 4:27:02 PM PST by hermgem
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To: Dustbunny

One thing I couldn't find at walmart was #2 coffee filters. Other than that, I saved a bunch of money.


19 posted on 02/19/2006 4:29:52 PM PST by sabe@q.com (Yes, I'm a SW freak!)
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To: steveo

uh, dare I ask....what is a milf-ish brunette?


20 posted on 02/19/2006 4:32:41 PM PST by OldFriend (MSM ~ controversy, crap, & confusion.....compliments of Alan Simpson)
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