Careers at Safeway
Safeway’s mission is to offer innovative products and programs that seek to improve consumers’ health and quality of life.
In 1915 Marion Barton (M.B.) Skaggs bought the grocery store his father owned in American Falls, Idaho. The property included two businesses, Skaggs Cash Stores and Skaggs United Stores. M.B.’s strategy was to provide customers with value and keep a slim profit margin in order to expand. It proved successful, and by 1926 he had opened 428 stores in 10 states.
That same year the company expanded by merging with another grocery chain, Safeway (previously known as Selig). The name “Safeway” was a reference to the fact that it had a cash-and-carry policy – customers could only buy products with cash, no credit. This kept many consumers from falling into credit card debt, presenting a “safe way” of making purchases, particularly as the economy faltered.
Skaggs’ 673 stores combined with Safeway’s 322 stores, resulting in one of the largest grocery store chains west of the Mississippi. The new entity was incorporated as Safeway, Inc. and went public in 1928 on the New York Stock Exchange. In the 1930s it introduced a number of industry innovations, including produce pricing by the pound,“sell by“ dates on perisahbles, and nutrition labeling.
Over the decade Safeway also acquired several regional grocery firms, including parts of Piggly Wiggly. In 1947 its sales exceeded $1 billion for the first time. In 1986 it was acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and taken private, but went public again in 1990. In 2014 it was acquired by Cereberus Capital Management for $9.4 billion. In 2015 it was merged with its fellow subsidiary Albertsons.
Business model of Safeway
Safeway has a mass market business model, with no significant differentiation between customer segments. The company targets its offerings at anyone who seeks food and drug products.
Safeway offers four primary value propositions: accessibility, convenience, risk reduction, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by providing a wide variety of options. It offers a full spectrum of food and general merchandise departments, including specialty departments such as seafood, bakery, delicatessen, floral, and pharmacy. Also, most stores include Starbucks coffee shops.
The company offers convenience by making life simpler for customers. It offers a grocery delivery service that enables consumers to get items delivered same-day if they order before a given time. New customers can try the service one time for free.
The company reduces costs through a variety of options. It maintains a section on its website that offers weekly specials. It also gives shoppers the opportunity to earn points through purchases that can be used for discounts at gas stations.
The company reduces risk by maintaining high quality standards. It maintains precise handling procedures and high-quality specifications, which has enabled it to develop a reputation for the best produce on the market.
The company has established a powerful brand due to its success. It is one of the largest food and drug retailers in the U.S., operating more than 1,300 stores across the United States. It has also won a number of honors, including the following:
- Recognition as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Magazine
- Distribution Management Association Circle of Excellence Award
- Recognition as one of the Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America
- Corporate Philanthropy Awards from the Washington Business Journal
- The U.S. Department of Defense Freedom Award
Safeway’s main channel is its network of retail stores in various regions across the U.S. It also sells products through its website. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, advertising, and in-store promotions.
Safeway’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature. Customers utilize its products while having limited interaction with employees. That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
Safeway’s business model entails distributing its products and delivering related services to customers.
Safeway’s key partners are the suppliers that provide it with the products and services it needs to run its operations. These include raw materials for the private label foods it produces.
The company also maintains an affiliate program through which it invites third parties to promote it through their platforms (websites, mobile apps, etc.). Referrals that lead to purchases result in commissions.
Safeway’s main resources are its physical resources. These include the over 1,300 stores it operates in California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, and the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.; its 19 manufacturing/processing facilities; and its 13 distribution/warehousing centers in the U.S.
It also maintains important human resources in the form of the associates that work at its stores. Lastly, it places a high priority on intellectual property, with over 450 trademarks registered and/or pending in the U.S. It considers trademarks of material importance to its business.
Safeway has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation and low-price value propositions. Its biggest cost driver is cost of goods sold, a variable expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of operating and administrative expenses, both fixed costs.
Safeway has one revenue stream: revenues it generates from sales of products to its customers.
info: Robert L. Edwards earned a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and an MBA at Brigham Young University. He previously served as the Chief Financial Officer of Safeway and as the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Genuardi's Family Markets, Inc.
info: Peter J. Bocian earned a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Accounting at Michigan State University. He previously served as EVP of Corporate Services at JP Morgan Chase and as EVP and Chief Administrative Officer of Hewlett-Packard Company.
info: Diane M. Dietz earned a B.S. in Marketing and Economics at Northern Illinois University. She previously served as President and CEO of Rodan & Fields, LLC, as a Consultant at ConAgra Foods, and held several leadership roles at Procter & Gamble.
info: Kelly Griffith previousy held many leadership positions at Albertsons, including EVP of Operations for West Region and Chief Operating Officer of North Region. She also served as EVP of Retail Operations and President of Merchandising at Safeway.
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