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Albertsons said yesterday that its Q1 results showed a 276 percent growth in e-commerce sales and a 26.5 percent increase in chainwide same-store sales, "both largely driven by the COVID-19 pandemic."

The company said that "sales and other revenue increased 21.4% to $22.8 billion during the 16 weeks ended June 20, 2020, compared to $18.7 billion during the 16 weeks ended June 15, 2019. The increase was driven by the Company's 26.5% increase in identical sales, partially offset by a reduction in sales related to store closures and lower fuel sales."

Bloomberg reports that the company said that " growth has slowed to the mid-teens in the current period, Chief Executive Officer Vivek Sankaran said in an interview. The company is still grappling with limited availability of key items like soups, baking products and household cleansers."

The Bloomberg story adds, "Albertsons, like many other companies, said it can’t predict what impact the pandemic will have on its business for the rest of the year. Sales in states hard-hit by the coronavirus in recent weeks, like California and Arizona, have accelerated, Sankaran said."

Inevitably, the story suggests, pandemic sales may be "the top of the mountain for grocery stores."

KC's View:

The Bloomberg observation is correct.  Albertsons - and every food retailer - will be judged by how they transform during this time, how they are a different company in the late days of the pandemic than they were in early days.  That means both bricks-and-mortar and e-grocery … it means finding new initiatives that challenge the status quo … and it means defining for itself and its customers what a mid-21st century supermarket needs to be, and how it is going to get there.