Can Anyone Save The Grocery Biz?

Posted by: Roben Farzad on January 27, 2006

Surely you’ve already read the news that Supervalu, CVS and a private equity consortium have struck a nearly $10 billion deal to acquire and divide up Albertson’s (ABS), the struggling supermarket chain. Wish them luck — the Whole Foods (WFMI), obscene-prepared-foods-margins kind of luck.

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I was at my local Whole Foods last night to pick up a rather light bowl of heat-lamped dinner bliss, which to my dismay cost $14. The lines were endless -- packed by folks who delude themselves into believing that $4 apples and $20/lb free-range turkey wasabi meatloaf make for a healthy, wholesome way of life. No wonder Whole Foods sports a higher market cap than lowly Albertson's, despite its having roughly one-tenth the yearly revenue. The stock has seven-bagged in the past six years. How you like them apples?

So can anyone save the grocery biz? If a sucker is indeed born every minute, there's hope.

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