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Safeway Taps Texan to Lead Dominick's

PLEASANTON, Calif. -- R. Randall Onstead Jr., who once ran the Randall's grocery chain in Texas that Safeway, Inc. purchased in 1999, has been asked by the grocery giant to turn around its troubled Chicago-based Dominick's chain.

Safeway has been trying to unload Dominick's for the past year, but has had no luck making a sale. The division operates 113 stores in the Chicago metropolitan area and was purchased by Safeway for $2.1 billion in 1998. Since then, it has steadily lost market share over the past five years to arch-rival Jewel-Osco, owned by Albertson's Inc. of Boise, Idaho.

Industry analysts claim Safeway has alienated Chicago-area customers by discontinuing popular Dominick's house brands and replacing them with Safeway Select products. The company has also alienated store employees by eliminating virtually all local management personnel and running the division from its East Bay headquarters.

Safeway currently operates 1,702 stores in the United States and Canada, and recorded 2002 sales of $32.4 billion.
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