Safeway Moves Dividend to December as Cliff Approaches

Food and drug retailer Safeway (NYSE: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.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based company joins a bundle of others that have either moved dividend payments to 2012 or declared special payouts, including Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and Carnival (NYSE:CCL), among many others.

While Safeway could not be immediately reached for a comment, Wal-Mart and American Eagle (NYSE: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.