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Are Fred Meyer and Safeway Owned by the Same Company?

By Ferdi Vol
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The previous boss of Fred Meyer is the new CEO of Safeway after Albertsons Companies Inc. bought it. This is perhaps what led many to wonder- are Fred Meyer and Safeway Owned by the Same Company?

Turns out, they are not. A private equity firm named Cerberus Capital Management, also known to own Albertsons and other businesses- own Safeway. On the other hand, Fred Meyer is owned by Kroger- an American retail company.

After a little research, I came across some facts about the two stores. So, in this article, I have put down those details about Fred Meyer and Safeway- what they are known for and what products they offer, who owns their stores, the other stores they are affiliated with, and some other inquiries.

Who Owns Fred Meyer?

Fred Meyers was founded by Fred. G. Meyer in Portland, Oregon USA in 1931. The founder was famous for introducing many inventive strategies and ideas for marketing. One of those innovative ideas was to have a grocery store along with a drugstore that will have home products, a gas station, off-street parking, and eventually clothing retail as well.

In four different western states, till the time Fred. G. Meyer was alive, Fred Meyer accomplished to have about 63 branches. After the death of Fred G. Meyer, in 1978, Fred Meyer was bought by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 1981. By May of 1988, Fred Meyer had spread across 6 states and had 99 stores.

Later, in 1998, Kroger, an America-based retail company, known to be the largest supermarket in terms of revenue in the United States, merged with Fred Meyer. Kroger was owned and founded by Barney Kroger. Walmart is the first but Kroger is considered the second-largest retail chain.

The merger of Fred Meyer and Kroger was an extravagant one as Kroger itself is a store with annual revenue of 121 billion dollars. Thus, before the merge, the two stores could also be classified as competitors.

Kroger's manufacturing is employed by Fred Meyer and both their own personal labels are used besides the nationally branded products.

What is Fred Meyer Known For?

Fred Meyer is an Oregon-based chain of retail stores that combines both groceries and departmental store products.

Fred Meyer has more than 130 superstores and has more than 22,000 items starting from clothing, jewelry, sports, gardening equipment to even home goods.

The following brands- Country Oven, Kivu Coffee, Moto Tech, HD Design, Splash Spa, Psst, Simple Truth, Michael Morgan, Kroger Value- which was Maximum Value before, Kidz Korner, Curfew, GNW, Private Selection, Naturally Preferred, and Homesense- can be found at Fred Meyer.

Currently, Fred Meyer has a revenue of about 4.897 billion US dollars. This chain was the first to encourage one-stop shopping, which eventually helped in contributing to their growth. Now, they also provide services through virtual means.

Fred Meyer was formerly affiliated with brands that included- President’s Choice, Fred Bear, My-Te-Fine, Personal Choice, Perfect Choice, and F.G. Meyer First Choice.

The founder of Fred Meyer was known to introduce innovative ideas and marketing strategies during his days of owning the chain. The chain continued to be innovative. They took initiatives such as- banning plastic bag use, providing an alternative to use paper bags for shopping to reduce waste, and also rewarding customers to encourage consumption.

In 2004, the chain initiated a rewards program for the customers- Fred Meyer Rewards. The customers were to register and then receive three purple cards. Every time there was a 5 dollars’ worth transaction, one point was added to them. And once a customer had spent almost 500 dollars and received 100 points, they were to receive a 5-dollar rebate voucher.

Back in July 2010, Fred Meyer announced to stop using plastic bags in any of its stores in Portland as environmental hazards were going on. Even before Portland itself banned the use of plastic bags, Fred Meyer was the biggest chain to have adapted to this decision.

According to a spokesperson of Fred Meyer, their cost increased due to the switch of plastic to paper. However, it is safe to say, Fred Meyer had concerns about environmental deterioration and also had concerns regarding the marine life that was at risk due to litter.

Who Owns Safeway?

Safeway was founded by Marion Barton Skaggs back in 1915. He was the main member whose contribution expanded the Safeway supermarket chain. During its origin days, the store promoted cash and carry basis without the chance of credit buying as it promoted it to be the "safe way" to avoid going into debt due to groceries.

Safeway was the ruling store in the Bay Area.

The initial declaration by the globally leading company- Cerberus Capital Management to buy Safeway was in 2014. Then later, Albertsons, a grocery company also a part of Cerberus, finally acquired Safeway in 2015- 100 years after Safeway’s founding. It was purchased for 9.4 billion dollars when it got affiliated with Albertsons.

Cerberus Capital Management was founded in 1992.  The equity firm has assets worth 45 billion dollars. They operate their businesses in- Real Estate, Pharmaceuticals, National and Alamo car rental, Firearms, and even Private Military Contractors.

What is Safeway Known For?

Safeway is one of the largest drug and food retail stores in the United States. Safeway’s brand now is Albertsons.

Safeway operates both locally and nationally with stores in about 35 states. In greater Washington towards the end of 2018, Safeway had about 76 stores and they are the first retail store to have sold products of 10 million dollars’ worth. It is the third-largest grocery store and is considered one of the gigantic stores in the industry.

Safeway provides grocery items, departmental items such as- bakery, floral, pharmaceuticals, fuel, and other products such as- cleaning, frozen foods, basically everything you need in a store. They follow the organic trend and have further expanded their organic vegetables and fruit produce.

Stores Safeway was Affiliated with Before Albertsons Buyout

Being one of the third-largest stores in the nation in terms of groceries, Safeway was also associated with a few other stores that include- Tom Thumbs, Randalls, Pavilions, and Carrs Safeway. Safeway also has a 49% share of a Mexican grocery chain named Casa Ley. Now, all these stores are owned by Albertsons ever since Safeway was bought as well.

Founded in 1948, Tom Thumb grew to have 20 stores within 8 years of its birth. Currently, they exceed 64 stores. They have two divisions- Flagship Tom Thumb- gourmet store, and Tom Thumb- a more regular store. Before Randall was bought by Safeway, Tom Thumb sold a bulk of their company to Randall. They also sold 6 stores to Albertsons back in the 80s.

Randalls was founded in 1966 through a family operation and used to spread along with different locations in Texas. Safeway purchased Randalls when it had 116 stores back in 1999. Due to a struggle in being able to keep its market shares, they, unfortunately, have been closing their stories in some places. Their remaining operating stores are in 32 locations.

Southern Nevada and Southern California supermarket Vons was owned by Safeway in 1997. They have a bakery, deli, frozen foods, dairy, pharmacy, seafood, floral products, and other essentials. Since 2015, Albertsons has owned Vons.

Pavillions is used by Vons as a banner. The store was initiated in 1985 and was later purchased by Safeway in 1997. Their products include bakery, deli, frozen foods, grocery, meat, organic produce, and more.

Carrs-Safeway is a chain that was independently owned from 1950 till it was bought by Safeway in 1999. It is a supermarket chain, based in Anchorage Alaska. The Founder of this store was Larry Carr and Barney Cottstein.

Casa Ley was founded by Juan Ley Fong in 1954, based in Culiacan, a city in northwestern Mexico. For many years, Safeway owned Casa Ley up until the time it was bought by Albertsons. 

Which is More Affordable and Has Better Produce?

According to a few customers as per my research, they claim that Safeway is very good with their quality and produce. During meat sales of buy one get one offers, Safeway is a preference for some. Safeway’s coupons make their prices a bit more affordable. But the quality of their products are great, hence the coupons make it worthwhile to buy their products.

Fred Meyer on the other hand is known to be affordable and a preference in that case. Also has a reputation to have more items. Therefore, it works better as a go-to shop stop.

However, during a survey conducted by an online consumers’ website, Fred Meyer received the highest ratings, while Safeway and Albertsons received the lowest. Fred Meyer was called superior with 64 as their rating, while Safeway was 43.

The produce prices of Safeway are 102 dollars and quality was rated 40%. The meat prices were 94 dollars while the quality was rated 39%. The overall pricing was found to be 104 dollars and overall quality was marked to be 43%. The survey and general public opinion were a contrast.

The produce prices of Fred Meyer are 74 dollars while quality was rated to be 56%, which is higher than Safeway. The meat prices are about 88 dollars and rated 45%, again more than Safeway. And lastly, the overall pricing is 90 dollars with a rating of the quality marked 64%.

Thus, the ratings and general customer and public responses show how preferences are solely subjective.

The above-stated facts about Safeway and Fred Meyer hopefully clear for you how different the two are. Thus, to answer – are Fred Meyer and Safeway owned by the same company? No, they are not. They were founded and currently owned by different companies and operate differently.

The only thing that Safeway and Fred Meyer have in common is that they are both very well-established grocery chains.

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The Grocery Store Academy is a blog about everything that has to do with grocery stores. This is your #1 spot to find the right information for your needs.
About the Author
Ferdi Vol has worked several years in a grocery store and has a passion for good food. He's happy to share his passion with you!
About Ferdi Vol
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