Food and drug retailer Safeway (SWY) will accelerate its regular quarterly cash dividend to December in an attempt to avoid a potential doubling of dividend taxes should the U.S. fail to resolve fiscal issues by the end of the year.
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The Pleasanton, Calif.-based company joins a bundle of others that have either moved dividend payments to 2012 or declared special payouts, including Oracle (ORCL), Wal-Mart (WMT), Best Buy (BBY) and Carnival (CCL), among many others.
While Safeway could not be immediately reached for a comment, Wal-Mart and American Eagle (AEO), cited the fiscal cliff specifically for their dividend maneuvers.
If the U.S. falls over the fiscal cliff, dividends could be subject to taxes as high as 39.6%, from 15% currently.
Safeway's fourth-quarter dividend, which has typically been paid in January, will be payable on Dec. 31 to shareholders of record on Dec. 17. Safeway said its board declared the 17.5-cent dividend and approved of the acceleration on Wednesday.