Dominick's shut its doors for good

Dominick's shut its doors for good California-based Safeway Inc., Dominick's owner, announced on October 10, that it would exit the Chicago-area market by Saturday, saying the Dominick's operations were the lowest-performing of Safeway's business divisions and a drag on the company's finances. The 72 area Dominick's stores employed 6,600 people. On Saturday, Dominick's shut its doors for good.

Though rumours had been raging for a decade that Safeway wanted to sell the Dominick's chain, the breaking point came after Safeway decided to sell its Canadian stores.

Safeway closed 26 Chicago-area Dominick's stores from 2004-07 to jettison those with slow sales.

Safeway started a major renovation campaign in 2006, to turn the remaining stores into "lifestyle" stores more similar to Whole Foods.

According to supermarket trade magazines, severe new competition dwindled Dominick's market share to 8 percent from 14.5 percent six years ago and from 24.4 percent in 2002. Dominick's incurred losses before income taxes of $35.2 million in the first nine months of 2013.

Rivals who range the array include Aldi, Costco, Mariano's, Trader Joe's, Walmart and Whole Foods, as well as independent fresh-food supermarkets and convenience stores pushing upscale and organic food products.

Safeway has so far sold 15 Dominick's stores, four to Jewel-Osco and 11 to Roundy's, the parent company of Mariano's supermarkets. Both companies employ unionized workforces.

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