Safeway was one of the largest supermarket chains in the UK. Originally a subsidiary of the US-based Safeway Inc, it was recently taken over by Morrisons. Almost all of Safeway stores in the UK have now been rebranded under the Morrisons name, and the brand has nearly disappeared. This article goes into the store's history.
History of Safeway
Before its acquisition by Morrisons, Safeway had a long history, and it was one of the biggest supermarket chains in the UK. Beginnings Safeway in the UK was established in 1962 when the US-based Safeway Inc opened a store in Bedford. Originally, this was known as Safeway Food Stores, but the name was soon shortened. By 1987, there were 133 Safeway stores in the UK. First acquisition Safeway was bought by Argyll Food Stores in 1987. To strengthen the brand, they began to rebrand their own Presto supermarkets as Safeway. Argyll Food Stores renamed itself Safeway PLC in 1996. Loyalty card Safeway was the first supermarket to introduce a loyalty card which rewards shoppers. This was brought in 1995, although it was originally only on a trial basis. New Safeway After Safeway dropped to the fourth most popular supermarket, and experienced slower growth than its rivals, a rebranding, known as "New Safeway," was attempted in 1999. This included dropping the loyalty card and cutting prices dramatically for some items. In 2003, Safeway was acquired by Morrisons.
In 2003, Safeway was taken over by Morrisons which was a much smaller brand. Store sales This takeover led to many Safeway stores being sold. As part of the deal, 50 stores had to be sold to meet competition rules. There were further sales and these included 114 Safeway Compact stores which were sold to Somerfield, and 72 other stores which did not fit with the scale of Morrison's brand. Petrol stations Safeway had run some garage shops in a deal with BP. This ended in 2005 with five stores being taken over by BP, and the rest sold to Tesco and Somerfield. Final Safeway stores The last Safeway stores were converted to the Morrisons brand in November 2005. This marked the end of Safeway as a brand in the UK.