Albertsons Companies, Inc (NYSE: ACI), the parent company of supermarket chains such as Albertsons Markets, Safeway, and Acme, made its public debut back in June 2020. Alternative data—specifically, Bloomberg Second Measure’s consumer transaction data—shows that after an initial bump in sales at the beginning of the pandemic, Albertsons Companies’ sales are back to pre-pandemic levels. A closer look at our data also reveals that customer counts at Albertsons are lower than before the pandemic, but average monthly sales per customer is higher.
Albertsons Companies sales have settled back to 2019 levels
When shelter-in-place orders went into effect in March 2020, grocery spending skyrocketed as U.S. consumers were stockpiling supplies. For Albertsons Companies, sales in March 2020 were 35 percent higher year-over-year and 41 percent higher than the previous month.
Albertsons Companies sales remained partially elevated year-over-year during the summer of 2020, but have since cooled down to pre-pandemic levels. In November 2021, Albertsons Companies’ sales were about the same as sales in November 2020 and were 3 percent lower than in November 2019.
Aside from the March 2020 boost related to pandemic spending, annual sales patterns indicate that Albertsons Companies experiences a modest bump in sales each December, likely for the holidays. December sales in 2019 were 6 percent higher compared to the previous month, while December sales in 2020 were 12 percent higher month-over-month.
Alternative data shows that Albertsons Companies has seen fewer customers during the pandemic, but customers are spending more
Albertsons Companies sales have returned to pre-pandemic levels, but it is reaching those levels differently. Customer volume dropped 20 percent between March and April of 2020, and has yet to return to pre-pandemic customer counts. In November 2021, the volume of customers was 4 percent higher than in November 2020 but 8 percent lower than in November 2019.
However, higher monthly sales per customer is making up for the drop in customers. Between February and March of 2020, the average monthly sales per customer at Albertsons grew 36 percent and remained elevated year-over-year throughout the rest of 2020.
For most months in 2021, the average monthly sales per customer was higher than in 2019, but lower than in 2020. However, in recent months, the year-over-year gap for average monthly sales per customer has been closing. In November 2021, the average sales per customer was $182—4 percent lower than the year before but 6 percent higher than two years before.
Albertsons is exploring new sales channels, especially online
One potential factor contributing to the rise in sales per customer at Albertsons Companies is its new partnerships with third-party food delivery companies. Albertsons Companies partnered with Uber grocery delivery and with Doordash grocery delivery over the summer of 2021. The grocery giant has also piloted a pickup program with Instacart, in addition to offering delivery through the online platform.
Furthermore, Albertsons Companies is experimenting with new ways to increase its online shopping. In September 2021, the company announced that it would bring livestream shopping to its website. On the retail front, Albertsons is testing smart carts in select stores and piloting a “smart salad bar” concept in 6 stores along the East Coast.
*Note: Bloomberg Second Measure regularly refreshes its panel and methods in order to provide the highest quality data that is broadly representative of U.S. consumers. As a result, we may restate historical data, including our blog content.