New Safeway Eastern division president Jim Perkins is stepping into a job that he has some familiarity with, having overseen parent company Albertsons’ eastern division (Safeway, Acme and Shaw’s) from 2015 to 2016. However, during this tour of duty he will find the challenges daunting as the number two retailer in the Baltimore-Washington market faces declining share and eroding morale at the 120-store division based in Lanham, MD.
Rebuilding a sagging division is nothing new for the 35-year industry veteran who has been with Albertsons most of his career (he was also a VP with Giant/Landover for four years). In 2013, when the Boise, ID-based chain acquired nearly 900 stores from Supervalu, Perkins was named president of Acme Markets. At the time, the Malvern, PA regional chain had experienced nearly a decade-long dip in same store sales and share in a market where for many years it had been the dominant operator in the Delaware Valley.
Operating with a new decentralized system and a fresh injection of capital, Perkins and his team helped turn Acme around in 18 months. Perkins then was promoted to EVP-east region of Albertsons, then in 2016 held a similar title supervising Albertsons’ western operations, before coming back east in January 2018 to once again oversee a much larger (176 stores) but once again struggling Acme unit following the company’s acquisition of approximately 70 A&P stores.