OAKLAND, Calif. -- Safeway Stores' efforts to consolidate magazine distribution are spreading with shocking speed to major retail chains across the country.
In September, SN Brand Marketing reported that several divisions of Safeway, based here, would be the first to reduce the number of periodical distributors with whom they deal. They were swiftly followed by five divisions of Albertson's, Boise, Idaho, and Raley's Supermarkets, West Sacramento, Calif. Distribution sources also report that Stop & Shop Supermarkets, Quincy, Mass., and Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., are close to consolidating as well.
"These changes are being made to consolidate the handling of all aspects of magazine and book receiving, returns and sales, and they are not a reflection of the job being done by those wholesalers being discontinued," wrote Stan Carter, marketing accounts manager, Albertson's, in a Sept. 18 memo to magazine and book wholesalers. Carter faxed the memo to SN.
Changes at five of 13 Albertson's divisions take effect Dec. 4, said the memo. The Western Washington division will use only Adams News Company, Seattle, News, while the Northern California division will buy only from ARAmark Magazine and Book Division, Sacramento.
The chain's Florida, Rocky Mountain and Phoenix divisions will also be serviced by Anderson News, Knoxville, Tenn.
Safeway's Denver division has also selected Anderson as its sole distributor. But the wholesaler had bought up all of its smaller competitors in Colorado in the last few months, said magazine industry sources.
Raley's went from six vendors to one, CalWest Periodicals, Oakland, in mid-September, said Dan Black, buyer. "We did it for the economical value to Raley's and Bel Air. It will take effect on Jan. 1," he said. "In terms of our industry, this is a very significant earthquake," said a magazine distribution source, who asked not to be identified.