Albertsons CEO: Coronavirus pushed people to form new habits

The way Americans buy groceries has changed; baking goods, cleaning products still in demand

The coronavirus pandemic drove higher demand for food-at-home, online sales and curbside pickup, and that could have permanently changed the way some people shop.

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One of those new habits,  is the desire for more options of curbside and delivery.

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"It's a growth opportunity for us, and we are continuing to expand it," Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran told FOX Business' Liz Claman on Friday. "We have so much headroom there. We need to get better, and we are getting better, and we'll do a lot more."

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
ACIALBERTSONS COMPANIES14.60-0.15-1.02%

Sankaran is hopeful life will return to normal, but he thinks some people have changed during the coronavirus lockdown.

"I think there are some new habits forming with people and people will come back and buy products," he said.

Albertsons, the nation's second-largest grocery chain, took the lion's share of the market in major cities, he said.

"People are eating a lot more at home and buying products from us,". "And we had a great fresh product in that store. And I think that's playing to our advantage. People are coming back buying produce, meat, seafood, baking goods, etc., so they can enjoy their evenings and their day at home."

Sankaran insisted grocery store companies are "very nimble" when it comes to adjusting to a changing consumer.

"In the early days, we would take whatever restaurant distributor could give us, process it in our store and make it available," Sankaran recalled during "The Claman Countdown." "You have to be nimble and adapt every day in this market."

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However, as people flocked to the grocery stores, they discovered many of the shelves were bare. While Sankaran believes America has a strong supply chain, he admitted there was a struggle at the beginning.

"The supply chain doesn't shift as easily line end up, but that part of it is stabilized," Sankaran explained. "You still have some challenges in sanitizing products. We still have challenges in baking goods, yeast ... just because the demand has increased so much."

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Albertsons Companies, Inc. operates several grocery stores store brands including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons and Jewel-Osco. It also owns meal-kit company Plated.

Albertsons filed for an initial public offering last week.

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