PLEASANTON -- As the effects of Safeway's reported $9 billion merger with Albertson's reverberates around the supermarket industry, in Pleasanton, home of Safeway's corporate headquarters, city leaders are bracing for the fallout.
With about 2,600 local employees between its Pleasanton grocery stores and headquarters' operations, Safeway is the city's second largest employer.
In a prepared statement Thursday, city officials relayed their hope the deal will allow the corporation to remain a strong presence in the local economy.
"We understand that part of running a very successful enterprise means making a business decision that's best for the company. Given today's announcement of the sale of Safeway, it is too early to know what that means for Safeway, or for Pleasanton," City Manager Nelson Fialho said in a press release. "It is our hope that Safeway -- or a new version of the company -- will remain an active member of the Pleasanton business community, and continue to be a place of employment for many of our residents."
The grocery chain, the nation's second largest, relocated its corporate offices from Oakland to Pleasanton in 1996, and moved to its 200,000-square-foot headquarters near Stoneridge Mall in 2001. Representatives from the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce were not immediately available for comment.
Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne was taken by surprise by Thursday's announcement, saying city leaders are in the process of setting up meetings with officials from Safeway and Cerberus Capital Management, the parent company of Albertson's. He said they want to see what steps can be taken to soften the blow on the local economy.
"We don't have the full picture yet, but obviously there's going to be an impact on us," Thorne said. "We're going to have to work with (the buyers) to see how we can lessen it."
Thorne noted the industry's trend away from large supermarkets and toward the smaller, neighborhood, market-style concept puts a question mark on Safeway's future presence in the city.
"That seems to be the way things are going," Thorne said. "We think there will be stores here, but we don't know what that's going to look like."
Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.