With grocery sales up, what does that mean for Albertsons’ IPO?

Andy Uhler Jun 23, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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One important measure is whether grocers can meet the new demands around convenience and delivery. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

With grocery sales up, what does that mean for Albertsons’ IPO?

Andy Uhler Jun 23, 2020
One important measure is whether grocers can meet the new demands around convenience and delivery. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
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The nation’s second-largest grocer, Albertsons, is said to preparing for an IPO this week, and analysts are expecting the Idaho-based company to raise $1.3 billion. Albertsons also operates Safeway, Vons Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Star Market and more.

The grocery business has seen a boost during the pandemic, even despite shortages, as shelter-in-place orders have meant a lot more people eating at home, stocking up on household goods and relying on online delivery and curbside pickup to get what they need. But with cities, towns and restaurants reopening, will the boom last?

Albertsons says its sales were up almost 50% in March, and almost a quarter in April as compared to 2019.

But Joel Rampoldt at Alix Partners said that’s not, necessarily, what analysts are focused on.

“Everyone’s sales are up, but by how much and who’s actually gaining share and who’s losing share in a market in which overall grocery sales are way up,” Rampoldt said.

One important measure is whether grocers can meet the new demands around convenience and delivery. Jim Hertel at Inmar Intelligence said that’s what customers are after.

“They want to shop online for at least a portion of their groceries and the retailers who choose to avoid making those capital investments are really going to be missing out,” Hertel said.

Albertsons says its digital sales jumped 32% in the fourth quarter.

A Bank of America survey found that 60% of Americans say they’re cooking more at home now. But as restaurants reopen and Americans start going out to eat again, it’s unclear how much the up-tick in grocery store sales will continue.

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