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Dominick's Parent Company Leaving Chicago Market

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Oct 10, 2013 9:45PM

Photo credit: Joseph Dennis
Could Dominick’s days be numbered? It looks that way after the supermarket chain’s parent company, Safeway, announced Thursday they were leaving the Chicago market in 2014.

Safeway’s announcement comes after the company’s net income fell by 58 percent in the third quarter, hurt by a software impairment charge, higher theft and lower property gains. Safeway operates 72 Dominick’s stores in the Chicago area and the company has already sold a handful of stores, according to an employee who spoke to Crain’s Chicago Business. The employee said Safeway is working to identify buyers for the remaining stores.

Yet “We anticipate that Dominick’s will be accounted for as a discontinued operation in the fourth quarter of 2013,” Safeway said in the news release.

So is Safeway looking for a buyer for the Dominick’s stores or are they liquidating? CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger read the announcement to mean the latter. Safeway President and CEO Robert Edwards said the decision to leave Chicago was made to—wait for it—maximize shareholder value. “These actions will allow us to focus on improving and strengthening our core grocery business. We are continuing to review all of our businesses to optimize our allocation of resources, improve sales and grow operating profits.”