My take: Kroger acquisition of Acme-Safeway parent has its pluses


The planned merger of Kroger with Acme and Safeway owner Albertsons could be good news for shoppers.

In the lengthy release announcing the merger of the companies, Kroger indicated it will take some of the savings from combining the two companies to lower prices and upgrade the look and feel of outdated stores.

The deal is subject to review, with Kroger poised to sell off stores to meet demands from antitrust regulators. There is little overlap in Delaware since Kroger owns a couple of coastal Delaware Harris-Teeter stores.

Acme has been losing market share over the years and has responded by shuttering stores on the edges of its territory, one example being Dover. Safeway also closed a couple of stores in northern Delaware after stumbling badly with the acquisition of Genuardi’s.

The main beneficiary in northern Delaware was the family-owned Kenny Shoprite stores. To the south, Acme-Safeway faces competition that includes Pennsylvania-based Redner’s, which filled gaps in Kent and Sussex counties.


Acme has struggled with union-management relations, although current management seems to have stabilized the situation. Store upgrades also went forward. 

Still, one could tell that private equity-funded  Albertsons – which snapped up Safeway in dressing the company up for a sale –  kept a tight lid on spending.

While prices are on the high side, Acme and Safeway shelves are well stocked, something you don’t always see at some competitors struggling with the supply chain and staffing.

The best news coming out of the planned merger is the expertise of Kroger in profitably operating multiple chains and keeping their local flavor.

Acme still has loyal customers and prime locations in northern Delaware with little nearby competition. Taking a page from the Kroger playbook would help. 

None of this means that a new owner might make hard decisions in northern Delaware for locations that have long been mentioned as candidates for closing. 

Acme, Safeway, and for that matter, Shoprite will need all the help they can get as Wegmans opens its first store in Delaware this month in the Barley Mill area outside Wilmington.  A bigger factor may be discount competitors Walmart, Lidl, Food Lion and Aldi, all of whom may pick up market share during this inflationary period. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.