Safeway Sees Corporate Brands Outpace National Brands

Safeway said yesterday that growth in corporate-brand sales is outpacing growth in national brands by a factor of 4 to 1 storewide and 6 to 1 in the center of the store — "the strongest evidence that consumers are trading down and looking for value," according to Steve Burd, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway here said yesterday that growth in corporate-brand sales is outpacing growth in national brands by a factor of 4 to 1 storewide and 6 to 1 in the center of the store — "the strongest evidence that consumers are trading down and looking for value," according to Steve Burd, chairman, president and chief executive officer. That shift helped boost net income for the first quarter, which ended March 22, to $193.4 million, while sales — which reflected a shift of Easter from last year's second quarter — climbed 7.3% to $10 billion and identical store sales, excluding fuel, rose 2.9% (2% excluding the Easter shift). Safeway lowered ID guidance for the year to a range of 2% to 2.3%, down from a projected 3% to 3.2%, "though if corporate brand growth continues, that will have a positive impact on ID's," Burd said.

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