SAFEWAY INSTALLS TICKET OUTLETS IN PORTLAND DIVISION

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Safeway's Portland division has recently installed ticket outlets in 29 stores across Oregon and Southwest Washington, according to Bridget Flanagan, public affairs director for Safeway's Portland division. The retailer signed an exclusive distribution agreement with FASTIXX, also here, a division of TicketsWest, Spokane, Wash."It will benefit our customers, and it's a nice additional

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Safeway's Portland division has recently installed ticket outlets in 29 stores across Oregon and Southwest Washington, according to Bridget Flanagan, public affairs director for Safeway's Portland division. The retailer signed an exclusive distribution agreement with FASTIXX, also here, a division of TicketsWest, Spokane, Wash.

"It will benefit our customers, and it's a nice additional customer service to offer today's busy consumer," Flanagan said.

She said the installations rolled out in mid-March, and Safeway's goal is to expand the service to 50 stores across Oregon and southwest Washington. Flanagan noted there was a slight delay in the rollout caused by the recent Seattle earthquake, which affected operations in the region for Qwest Communications, of Denver, the provider of FASTIXX's data circuit. "Qwest had phone issues due to the earthquake; they had to prioritize, and it pushed us back a few days."

TicketsWest vice president Jack Lucas said, "Supermarkets lend themselves favorably to this service because of their outstanding hours of operation, ease of access and ease of parking. [For them], it adds additional traffic to the stores, and sometimes impulse buys."

According to Lucas, Safeway receives an undisclosed negotiated commission on a per-ticket basis.

Lucas said the point-of-sale transaction allows consumers to walk away with their entertainment tickets in hand. "People are buying emotion when they buy tickets, and it sets off a chain reaction."

Flanagan said the events sold through FASTIXX at the selected Safeway locations include rock concerts, the symphony, spoken-word events, and country music, as well as venues that cater to children. "It's a good cross-section of cultural events in this neck of the woods."

Some Oregon venues where FASTIXX provides ticketing services include Portland Center for the Performing Arts, Portland International Raceway, and Portland Meadows, according to a written statement.

Flanagan said Safeway has advertised this new service in freestanding advertisements in newspapers like The Oregonian, and has also announced the service through the retailer's in-store satellite network. In addition, signage highlights the service at the customer service desk.

"Supermarkets and their employees are customer service-oriented, and that's a big part of selling and purchasing a ticket," Lucas said. "Safeway is a leader in customer service."

He also announced a recent agreement reached with all 85 Denver-based King Sooper stores in January, under which TicketsWest and the retailer are merchandising entertainment and concert tickets to area venues, as well as ski lift tickets.