I read with considerable interest David Orgel's opinion column, "A Problem With Safeway's Outlook on Reinvention" [SN April 5, 2004, Page 10]. The column takes Safeway Chief Executive Officer Steve Burd to task for classifying as a down-the-road opportunity [the need to] "expand the customer's repertoire of foods, grow the store's share of stomach, and focus on food service." The editorial, quite appropriately, I believe, stipulates that these are not "brand new concepts whose time is just now approaching."
avilions, records will show that, by and large, it was a successful concept. In its most glorious days, the concept was a success, both in terms of sales and bottom line.
From time to time, the question of whether to market Pavilions as a freestanding chain or as a Vons derivative became the subject of internal debate within the old Vons. A consolidation of brands offered considerable scalar economies -- both in terms of management resources and advertising. For years, management resisted the temptation to sacrifice a leading-edge marketing position at the altar of operating efficiencies.
Now, on occasion, a hyphenated Vons-Pavilions [message] appears in direct mail and in newspaper ads. I find it perplexing that Mr. Burd can speak of the need to move away from self-service and [the sale of meal ingredients] and, at the same time, allow the virtual disintegration of the [retail] brand that, perhaps more than any other, has stood for leading-edge food concepts.