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Albertsons’ Q2 online sales surge 243%; testing grocery pick-up lockers

Albertsons Cos. reported strong sales for its second quarter with sales and earnings that beat expectations and gave upbeat full-year guidance. 

The supermarket company also announced that it is piloting temperature-controlled, grocery pick-up lockers, starting in select Jewel-Osco stores in the Chicago area, followed by select Safeway locations in the Bay Area later this year. 

Albertsons’ net income totaled $284.5 million, or $0.49 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 12, up from $294.8 million, or $0.51 per share, in the year-ago period.  Adjusted EPS of $0.60 easily topped analysts’ estimates of $0.27.

Sales rose 11.2% to $15.76 billion from $14.18 billion last year, beating expectations for $15.44 billion. Digital sales soared 243%. Albertsons attributed the increase to a 13.8% rise in identical sales, which was fueled by skyrocketing digital growth and higher store sales.

During the first 28 weeks of fiscal 2020, the company spent $702.9 million in capital expenditures, including investments in strategic technology, ramped-up e-commerce investment, and the completion of 132 remodels.

The company expects fiscal 2020 identical sales to grow 15.5% and adjusted EPS growth in the range of $2.75 to $2.85. Analysts had forecast identical sales growth of 12.9% and EPS of $2.18.  

Albertsons’ pick-up lockers, from Bell and Howell, are modular, temperature-controlled, and suitable for both indoor and outdoor environments. Individual columns in the modular setup can be adjusted to ensure specific temperatures required to meet the wide needs of online orders. 

Customers who select the new pick-up option will be asked to select a time window to pick up their groceries. Once customers complete their purchase, they receive a unique code that they will use to pick up their order from the self-serve lockers.

As of September 12, 2020, Albertsons operated 2,252 supermarkets, 398 associated fuel centers, 22 dedicated distribution centers and 20 manufacturing facilities. The Company operates stores under 20 banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs. 

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