ALBERTSON'S SEES ST. LOUIS ENTRY

BOISE, Idaho -- Albertson's here is looking for potential store sites in the St. Louis market, which would represent a new trade area for the chain.d SN last week Albertson's is "just doing our due diligence and studying the [St. Louis] market" to determine if it wants to enter it. "Our real estate people have been looking, and I've been there a couple of times. But we've made no commitments yet,"

BOISE, Idaho -- Albertson's here is looking for potential store sites in the St. Louis market, which would represent a new trade area for the chain.

d SN last week Albertson's is "just doing our due diligence and studying the [St. Louis] market" to determine if it wants to enter it. "Our real estate people have been looking, and I've been there a couple of times. But we've made no commitments yet," he said.

Schnuck Markets, St. Louis, the dominant chain in the market, has 70 metro-area stores and an estimated 65% share. The remaining 35% is divided among a host of other local operators, including Shop 'N Save, National and Dierbergs. If Albertson's enters St. Louis, it would be the only major chain player there. King declined to say whether or not the company has decided to enter St. Louis, nor would he say how many stores Albertson's thinks it might need to have an impact there. Observers said Albertson's would like to enter with at least 10 locations. Albertson's is in the process of entering Mississippi with three stores, King said. "And we entered Houston with 10 stores, and we will add six more by the end of the year and see opportunities for five or six more stores per year there," he added.