Safeway Inc (NYSE:SWY)

CAPS Rating: 2 out of 5

The Company is a food and drug retailers in North America.

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Player Avatar lemma (95.88) Submitted: 3/31/2008 3:05:25 PM : Underperform Start Price: $25.05 SWY Score: +7.87

I can't believe I didn't think to call this when the stock was at $35. My husband works at Safeway, and the inefficiencies he witnesses are absurd. This might be long, but at least you'll know how your Safeway works!

There is almost no incentive to work hard or be efficient (and I've heard it's nearly impossible to get fired). Instead, all the emphasis is placed on the secret shopper program. If you shop at Safeway and get annoyed at constantly being asked if you need help finding anything, you should know that it's because you might be a secret shopper, and store management thinks the world will end if an employee "misses" a shop.

As a consumer, I don't like to shop at Safeway. The prices are much higher than other area grocery stores, and I don't think the secret shopper program actually improves customer service. They don't have a good selection of merchandise, either. The store by our house just started selling boogie boards. We live in the Pacific Northwest; it's cold and rainy here, not to mention a two-hour drive to the ocean. But does the store sell umbrellas? No. They sell boogie boards.

Safeway pharmacies lose business to drugstores with low-priced generics. About the lowest price you could expect to pay for meds at Safeway would be $19.99. If you can get the same thing for $4, you're saving almost $200 a year by going to Target, Walgreens, Wal-Mart or Costco.

If you wanted to determine how much bread to bake in a store, you would probably keep a spreadsheet of daily sales. You know what Safeway does? They look at the week's bread sales from five weeks ago. So if bread was on sale five weeks ago, or if there was a holiday and people were buying stuff for dinner, you're going to bake too much this week, and then throw it away -- because they don't have clearance racks for day-old goods.

I know this is all anecdotal information, but I think the waste and misdirection that employees and customers experience is indicative of the failure of management to focus on running the business well -- which includes finding, retaining and training good candidates for store and district management. With that intro, here is my favorite item: A display of Axe body spray near the pharmacy was aggravating an employee's asthma. After she complained to management several times, they came back with a solution: she could move to another store!

The thing that made me think "underperform" was that my husband had to call HR, and the phone line was *busy* for 35 minutes. What is this, Ma and Pa's Corner Market? Did Ma go to lunch and leave the phone off the hook? Seriously!

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Member Avatar munnydawg (20.07) Submitted: 5/16/2008 11:38:45 AM
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I worked for Safeway for 10yrs at a pak n save and regular safeway stores all over the bay area and in Hawaii. I have slowly watched the Company go from the safeway of old involved in the community and the lives of its employees to this cheap watered down version of what the company and its stores used to be.

Member Avatar pidgepiks (21.80) Submitted: 6/6/2008 9:52:43 PM
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as a former safeway sd i share your pain...when safeway was run out of texas over 20 years ago i stayed and started over with a texas based TOM THUMB STORES that believed in selling their way into profit and total control of store operations in the sd hands...safeway came back a few years ago and bought tom thumb along with a struggling randalls stores..i stayed on the one year i promised to before leaving the exact same poor operation that got ran out of texas 20 years ago...safeway stores are operated by "yes" management at store level.....a bunch of mindless followers...directed in ever area from merchandising to customer service...management of operators by the numbers...like the old paint by the numbers with big brother watching and guilding your every stroke....no leadership skills required....your husband needs to get out while he still may have a mind of his own....try whole foods or harry teeter if they're in your area...or perhaps his own thing.....freedoms great but only if you exerctse it....regretfully

Member Avatar slick21368 (< 20) Submitted: 6/29/2008 8:20:49 PM
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Having worked at Genuardi's (owned by Safeway) for 12 years I have seen first hand the destruction Safeway leaves in it's wake after buying a chain of supermarkets. I now work for Whole Foods and I cannot believe I stayed at Genuardi's as long as I did. I am now a happy, satisfied team member of a top 15 "best places to work" award winning, eco-friendly company. Safeway is a destructive, morally corrupt company will disgruntled employees and puppet management.

Member Avatar jmack48 (< 20) Submitted: 10/13/2008 4:36:27 PM
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As a family member maybe you are biased against this company. Walmart treats their employees a lot worse than Safeway. Non union employers treat their employees worse also. Grocery is a tough business and Safeway competes agressively in all its markets. Without the secret shopper program the employees can treat customers badly and get away without any concern. This just makes the employee accountable. Get over it. This is a tough company in a tough market and Safeway will continue to perform competitivety.

Member Avatar biotechmgr (37.47) Submitted: 2/17/2009 12:59:32 PM
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I tried shopping at Genuardi's (SWY in PA). The people are terrible. They are morons and unhelpful, and even rude. I'm going to Whole Foods where people are friendly and food is healthy.

Member Avatar biotechmgr (37.47) Submitted: 2/17/2009 1:01:13 PM
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Good info slick and I concur based on my shopping experience.

Member Avatar ClandPhoenix (86.10) Submitted: 6/21/2012 3:53:14 PM
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I am not going to give too much detail as I do still respect my immediate supervisors. I worked at the corporate level for Safeway for a few years and found they are very resistant to change in any manner. It is like walking into a big corporation from the 60s to 80s where you are promoted based on time of service and no one wants to hear any new ideas. Just wait your turn, do your job and do not do anything to bring attention to yourself.

This company will never do anything to innovate and even when they try they do it poorly. Their projects use flawed business metrics such as ROI to determine whether or not to do something. ROI is fine as a piece of the puzzle but should not be the sole determining factor of a projects necessity. ROI also assumes all the factors in the return equation are known which more often than not is not the case.

Anyway all things considered I have to agree that SWY is not going to be making any big moves upward in its stock price so if the market is rising in general thumbs down.

Member Avatar riverjunction (< 20) Submitted: 6/18/2013 3:54:03 PM
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hi i retired from safeway after 37 full time years and saw a lot of changes. they were great until walmart started under cutting there prices and taking there bussiness.i would totally agree with jmack48. the thing that i havent heard mentioned is that steve burd owns a lot of stock that he is willing to protect and with the recent sale of the canadian operation they can pay down the debt and have 3.7 to buy back there own stock. a big advantage. steve burd is now retired and working behind the scenes and i think he has something in mind. also the money from black hawk ipo which they still have total control of riverjunction

Member Avatar riverjunction (< 20) Submitted: 6/18/2013 3:56:55 PM
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hi i retired from safeway after 37 full time years and saw a lot of changes. they were great until walmart started under cutting there prices and taking there bussiness.i would totally agree with jmack48. the thing that i havent heard mentioned is that steve burd owns a lot of stock that he is willing to protect and with the recent sale of the canadian operation they can pay down the debt and have 3.7 to buy back there own stock. a big advantage. steve burd is now retired and working behind the scenes and i think he has something in mind. also the money from black hawk ipo which they still have total control of. riverjunction

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