retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Chicago Tribune reports that Safeway is now saying that while it does not want to leave the Chicago market, it will sell its Dominick’s division if the union doesn’t capitulate to its demands.

While there have been reports that companies like Supervalu and Kroger might entertain the notion of buying Dominick’s, Safeway says it has received no offers. Meijer and Schnucks also are reported to be monitoring the situation.

There also has been some speculation that Safeway wants out of Chicago and is using the union impasse as an excuse to bail out of the market.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union also reportedly has filed an expanded set of charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), accusing Safeway of bad faith bargaining and other unfair labor practices when it threatened to close or sell Dominick’s if the workers went on strike.

There was some speculation that the two sides were about to announce a tentative agreement, but as of this posting, no announcements had been made.
KC's View:
We could be wrong, of course, but hearing Safeway say “we don’t want to leave, but…” reminds us of a terrible movie adaptation of a Stephen king novel, “Firestarter.” In it, a very young Drew Barrymore warns people right before she uses her mental powers to cause them to go up in flames, “Don’t make me do it!”

We suspect that while no official offers have been received, there is plenty of negotiating going on behind the scenes. It is hard to imagine, what with all the rhetoric, that Safeway is likely to remain owner of Dominick’s. But we could be surprised.