Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today we’re taking a break from the norm and checking out some new photos. I was recently tipped off by a reader of an opportunity to purchase some old Safeway Annual Reports. While the reports are available online, the photos I have uploaded provide far greater detail. A few of today’s photos will come from a Texas location, 1820 N Loy Lake Rd, Sherman, TX 75090, which, while not in the Houston division, is still open to this day as a Kroger. Other photos will be of various other Safeway concepts in various states. I would also like to thank those who have donated to Houston Historic Retail. Your funds went to help make this purchase!
“We believe the Super Store, with its multiple attractions of selection, convenience, and service, meets the needs of the majority of our customers and will be the predominant outlet of the [80s]. However, we will be adapting our merchandising strategies to appeal to a diverse range of consumer interests, some of which can be served more effectively in specialized store formats.”
“In keeping with our ongoing commitment to the one-stop shopping concept, the vast majority of our full-service supermarkets opened in fiscal 1980 are in the Super Store category. The additional sales area in these outlets has enabled us to carry a broader, more profitable product mix and to include special features not usually found in conventional stores.”
“Today, in addition to a much wider assortment of seasonal domestic items, even in mid-February, Safeway produce fixtures may display exotic imports such as kiwi fruit, papayas, and mangos alongside more common but out-of-season items such as fresh strawberries and cherries.”
“A major development in this regard is an ambitious program to equip many of our larger stores with full-line pharmacies. In the past year, we installed 90 pharmacies and plan to add 205 more in 1981, which would bring the year-end total to 305. Beyond the potential for extra sales in dispensing prescriptions, having a pharmacist on hand to answer customers’ questions about related items typically results in substantially higher sales of health and beauty aids as well.”
“Another Safeway innovation is the complete natural food center, a separate in-store section stocking up to 3,000 high volume items usually sold in health food stores. Consumer demand for such products, particularly among younger shoppers, has been strong and is increasing steadily. We operated 458 of these centers at year-end 1980 and expect to have a total of well over 700 in place by the end of 1981.”
“283 in Canada, 89 in the United Kingdom, 25 in West Germany, and 72 in Australia. Foreign operations continued to perform well under mixed conditions. In the United Kingdom for instance, excellent results were achieved despite a very difficult economic environment that depressed the earnings reported by many competitors.”
“Our small Town House Stores, serving office workers and high-rise apartment and condominium dwellers in the Washington, D.C. area, feature a wide assortment of international foods, fine wines, and premium quality meat, produce, and deli items.”
“Some of our existing stores present excellent opportunities for other forms of diversification. By the year’s end, we had converted to alternate uses 33 older stores we otherwise would have closed. Twinty-six of these locations were reopened during the year as Food Barns “no frills” food outlets with limited selections of groceries, meat, and produce. Most products are displayed in bulk bins or in shipping cases on wire racks, and customers bag or box their purchases themselves.”
“We also opened eight Liquor Barns in former Safeway supermarkets. These are now warehouse-type beverage stores stocking up to 2,500 varieties of imported and domestic liquor, beer, and wine at exceptionally low prices. As a diversified retailer capable of satisfying a wide spectrum of consumer shopping preferences, we believe Safeway is in a strong position to achieve steady growth in the intensely competitive environment of the eighties.”
“In another diversification effort, last November, we converted a store in Utah to a home improvement center. It’s staffed by experienced management and salespeople and carries a full line of building materials, tools, and garden supplies. Operating at this prototype store will enable us to evaluate our prospects for further involvement in the fast-growing and profitable “do it yourself market. In our joint venture with Holly Farms Poultry Industries Inc., we opened four more fried chicken and seafood take-out restaurants. At year-end, we operated 52 outlets in four Southeastern states and the District of Columbia.”
In 1980, Safeway had many irons in many different fires. While diversity can be a vital source of growth, as evident by this annual report, it does create some risks. By 1982, Safeway was aware they needed to bolster control of their company by generating cash. Some of the earliest division sell-offs would occur during this time. Still, even those wouldn’t be enough to prevent the 1986 buyout attempt that eventually triggered Safeway’s exit from Houston and AppleTree‘s entry.