Seeking Alpha
We cover over 5K calls/quarter
Profile| Send Message|
( followers)  

Safeway (NYSE:SWY)

Q3 2013 Earnings Call

October 10, 2013 5:00 pm ET

Executives

Melissa C. Plaisance - Senior Vice President of Finance & Investor Relations

Robert L. Edwards - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Peter J. Bocian - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Analysts

Edward J. Kelly - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Charles Edward Cerankosky - Northcoast Research

John Heinbockel - Guggenheim Securities, LLC, Research Division

Karen F. Short - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Kenneth Goldman - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Andrew P. Wolf - BB&T Capital Markets, Research Division

Meredith Adler - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Scott Andrew Mushkin - Wolfe Research, LLC

Damian Witkowski - Gabelli & Company, Inc.

Deborah L. Weinswig - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Operator

Welcome to the Safeway 2013 Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] This call is being recorded. If you have any objections, please disconnect at this time. I will now turn the call over to Ms. Melissa Plaisance, Safeway's Senior Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Melissa C. Plaisance

Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us for Safeway's Third Quarter 2013 Earnings Conference Call. With me today are Robert Edwards, our President and CEO; and Pete Bocian, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

We thank you for joining us this afternoon as we have adjusted our reporting schedule to after the market closes, a practice similar to many other West Coast companies, in order to allow information to be disseminated outside of market trading hours. Beginning with the fourth quarter, we plan to report our earnings on Wednesdays after the market closes.

Today, Robert will provide opening comments in regards to today's announced exit from the Chicago market and he will talk about our plans to grow the business, as well as provide an overview of the quarterly results. Pete will then provide more details on the quarter with a focus on continuing operations, as we've classified our Canadian division as a discontinued operation.

Please note that in spite of today's announcement in regard to the Chicago market, our results in Chicago are recorded in continuing operations this quarter. Pete will also spend some time discussing our guidance, anticipating that Chicago will be included in discontinued operations in the fourth quarter. Robert will then close with some prepared remarks and a few final comments.

So before I hand the call over to Robert, I'd like to remind you that management will make statements during this call that include forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Federal Securities laws. Forward-looking statements contain information about future operating or financial performance. Forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations and assumptions and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to be materially different from those anticipated. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any such statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. For a list and description of those risks and uncertainties, please see our filings with the SEC.

And with that, I'll call it -- I'll turn the call over to Robert.

Robert L. Edwards

So thanks. I'm pleased to report to you today the progress we have made since our second quarter call. Shortly after I assumed my role as CEO, we began a strategic assessment of our current business with the objective of improving how we allocate resources and develop and enhance growth strategy, to build our competitive advantage and increase shareholder value. The scope of this initiative is broad, and we are focused on exploring a number of strategic initiatives for profitable growth and improving our core grocery retail business.

One key component of our strategy going forward will be the increased sales and enhanced profitability in core markets. We expect to also focus on meaningful differentiation strategies to better serve our diverse shoppers. In the coming quarters, we will share more detail on our plans for profitable growth. We are confident that our strong store base, brand positioning and sales momentum, built from recent retail and loyalty initiatives, give us the foundation to accelerate profitable growth in the future.

Today's announcement of the decision to exit the Chicago market is the result of our review process. While these decisions are always difficult to make, the disposition of our assets in the Chicago market will eliminate a noticeable drag on our financial results and a significant drain on our resources, allowing us to focus on our remaining operations. We also anticipate this action will generate a substantial tax loss that will help offset some of the tax on the sale of our Canadian operations.

As most of you know, we entered into an agreement to sell substantially all of the net assets of Canada Safeway Limited to Sobeys Inc. for CAD 5.8 billion in cash. With the anticipated tax loss from the exit of the Chicago market, the net after tax proceeds are anticipated to increase from the previously estimated CAD 4 billion to a range of CAD 4.4 billion to CAD 4.5 billion. The proceeds are expected to be used to pay down CAD 2 billion of debt. The majority of the remaining proceeds are expected to be used to buy back stock. In addition, some of the proceeds may be used to invest in growth opportunities. The transaction is still expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearance. These actions should allow us to broadly enhance shareholder value.

Given the anticipated changes in our core business and some investments we chose to make this quarter to build sales, there are a number of moving pieces in our third quarter to share with you. Our nonfuel U.S. ID sales increased 1.9% in the third quarter, a 70-basis-point improvement from the 1.2% increase in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter to date, nonfuel IDs are running at 2.2%, up 30 basis points from the Q3 ID sales level.

Our U.S. market share, as measured by Nielsen group for the sixth consecutive quarter, even when we adjust Nielsen's numbers downward for the sale of Genuardi's, we gained 11 basis points in the supermarket channel and were essentially flat in the all-outlet channel.

Diluted earnings per share from our continuing U.S. operations declined from $0.16 per share to $0.07 per share. When adjusted for the software write-off related to our Canadian operations of $0.03 per share, EPS was $0.10 per share. First call estimates for the third quarter were for consolidated earnings per share of $0.16. The consensus estimate was above our internal forecast by about $0.03. The $0.03 shortfall to our internal forecast is primarily due to missing our shrink forecast. We began implementing in the third quarter a new strategy that focuses more on improving sales with less emphasis on controlling shrink. This transition resulted in an unplanned level of shrink in certain divisions that cost us about $0.06 per share. We have modified our shrink targets to support stronger core sales growth and to support improvements in merchandising assortment.

Our customers have noticed these improvements and that is creating some of our positive sales and volume growth. These changes take some time to execute as each store finds the right balance and as shoppers become increasingly aware of the improvements that have been made, all of which did increase shrink about [ph] what we have planned in Q3. The increased shrink was primarily present in business units, but also experienced some of the most significant sales and volume increases in the quarter.

Most of the shrink above expectations were isolated to certain divisions. Shrink control has been a strength of ours for years. It is something we know how to do and it is in our control. We believe we have made the right adjustments and that excess shrink is no longer going to be an issue. We are confident shrink will be consistent going forward with our expectations.

While still early in the fourth quarter, our shrink results for the first 4 weeks have improved and are back in line with the targets that we have established.

We remain focused on our initiatives to increase loyalty and sales in our core supermarket business. We are leveraging our data to drive our business. Our Club Card gives us rich data on our shoppers. We are using our digital Just for U platform to build the basket and reward our most loyal shoppers. We're also using this data to partner with consumer packaged goods partners to build unique and robust offers. We now have over 6 million registered Just for U users.

Fuel rewards continue to delight our customers and clearly drives loyalty. We are encouraged by our early results on our clustering effort. We start with the shopper and that dictates assortment. We're putting greater focus on meeting the needs of our broad customer base. We compete in a very diverse market and have recognized the need to alter the assortment in many of our stores. We are pleased with the impact of all of these initiatives to date. In fact, in stores where we have completed our center of store premium and Hispanic clustering initiative, sales increases are significantly above the company average nonfuel IDs.

We are investing in -- also is positive for our employees. We see this firsthand when we walk through their store. They feel a strong sense of pride and passion for the results of their efforts. In addition, our private brands portfolio continues to grow and contribute to loyalty and profitability. For continuing operations on a year-over-year basis through 36 weeks, our private brand sales compared to total sales, excluding pharmacy, Starbucks and fuel, in dollar sales is up 34 basis points to 27.8% and then volume up 43 basis points to 27.2%.

In the third quarter, O Organics reclaimed the #1 organic brand position. Open Nature sales increased 49%. We now have over 450 Open Nature items. We continue to expect sales in excess of $200 million of these products in 2013. And we have launched over 100 new private label brand items in the quarter, and on a year-to-date basis, we are close to 400 new items.

And now just a few comments on Blackhawk's performance. Load value increased 18% in the quarter. Operating revenues increased 25% to $206 million. Adjusted operating revenues increased 34% to $101 million and adjusted net income increased to $4 million.

I would now like to ask Pete to cover the financials and our guidance.

Peter J. Bocian

Thanks, Robert, and good afternoon, everyone. As Robert mentioned in his opening remarks, this is a quarter with a lot of moving parts to report. And just to confirm upfront, all my remarks today will be in the context of continuing operations.

Total sales for the quarter increased 1.1%. While ID sales were stronger at 1.9%, this was partially offset by lower gasoline sales in 2013 and the disposition of the Genuardi's stores in 2012. As a note, the shift to generic drugs in our pharmacy business impacted U.S. ID sales by about 0.3%. Without this generic drug impact, U.S. ID sales would have been about 2.2%.

The ID sales increase of 1.9% was the result of 1.1% increase in price per item with a volume increase of approximately 0.8%, which is a big improvement from prior periods.

During the third quarter, cost increases, primarily in dairy and meat, were not fully passed along in line with competition. This is in contrast to the second quarter when there was virtually no lag in passing the vast majority these cost increases along, also in line with other market participants. This had a negative impact on both Q3 sales and gross margin.

The gross profit margin declined 36 basis points year-on-year in Q3. Excluding fuel, it declined 53 basis points. This decline is largely explained by higher shrink and price investments offset by reduced advertising expense. Like last quarter, we're rolling out Just for U and had elevated levels of ad spending last year.

During the quarter, we intentionally backed off of certain shrink targets to improve sales and support our improvements in merchandising and assortment. Moving from an environment that had been tightly controlled for years, some stores managed to change well and others did not, resulting in much higher than planned shrink. We've redoubled our efforts to control shrink in Q4, and while we expect higher shrink than in Q4 of 2012 due to growth, we expect it to be significantly better than Q3.

As Robert mentioned, while still early in the fourth quarter, quarter-to-date shrink is in line with our targets and our outlook.

The O&A margin decreased 7 basis points year-on-year on Q3 -- sorry, increased. Excluding fuel, it decreased 20 basis points. This decline was due to lower depreciation, reduced labor costs and reduced legal reserves, partly offset by lower property gains and the $9.9 million impairment of the warehouse software project.

Our operating profit margin declined 43 basis points to 0.94% in the third quarter of 2013 from 1.37% in the third quarter of 2012. Excluding fuel, operating profit declined 33 basis points.

Interest expense declined to $64 million from $71 million in last year's third quarter. This $7 million decline is largely due to $1.1 billion lower average borrowings as we continue to pay down our debt, offset in part by a 31-basis-point higher average borrowing rate of 4.88% in Q3 of 2013 versus 4.57% in Q3 of 2012.

In the quarter, taxes on continuing operations declined to 19.6% from 30.5% in Q3 2012. The decrease was largely due to a $2.5 million reduction in tax expense composed of individually immaterial items. We expect a 27% tax rate for the full year 2013 and approximately 34% for the fourth quarter.

Free cash flow year-to-date is $381 million versus $194 million last year. This $187 million swing is largely explained by lower capital spending. Safeway has invested $438 million in capital expenditures year-to-date through Q3 of 2013, compared to $630 million in 2012, largely due to timing. Through 36 weeks, we've completed 94 center of store remodels.

With this earnings release, we're reconfirming and updating guidance on continuing operations. We expect ID sales of 1.6% to 1.9% for the year. For the first 36 weeks, we're at 1.6%. ID sales in 2012 were 0.6% in the U.S. We expect adjusted diluted EPS in the range of $0.93 to $1 compared to last year's $0.99. Through 36 weeks, we're at $0.52, excluding the favorable tax items from Q1, the 3 items called out at the Q2 press release and the write-off of the warehouse software project in Q3.

Given the timing of the proceeds from the Canada sale, these numbers reflect no impact from share repurchase and debt repayment beyond the use of the 2013 free cash flow. We still expect the cash from Canada in the fourth quarter and anticipate buying back stock after we received the proceeds.

Assuming Chicago moves to discontinued operations by yearend, we believe diluted EPS would be in the range of $1.05 to $1.12.

For 2013, we expect EBITDA to be in the range of $1.67 billion to $1.7 billion. This compares to $1.74 billion in 2012. The change in guidance was driven by the higher shrink in Q3, which looks to be back on target in Q4, and the delay in passing along all of the cost inflation we saw in Q3, which we expect will improve somewhat in Q4.

The operating margin, excluding fuel for the U.S. business in 2013, is at -- now expected to be up 10 to 15 basis points versus 2012, with or without Chicago.

Capital spending for 2013 is now expected to be approximately $850 million to $875 million. This previously was expected to be $900 million and $950 million. In 2012, capital expenditures in continuing operations were $837 million.

We expect free cash flow to be at the lower end of prior guidance. We're between $600 million and $650 million. Previous guidance was $600 million to $700 million. In 2012, free cash flow was $586 million. The uses of free cash flow in 2013 continue to be to fund the dividend and then to pay down debt. We expect to use the free cash flow from our Canadian operations through closing towards the repayment of outstanding Canadian debt.

As a final note, we currently are reporting EPS for continuing operations without the benefit of the Canada sale proceeds or the Chicago market exit. Moving forward, EPS will grow significantly near term: First, as Dominick's moves to discontinued operations; then as we pay down $2 billion of debt, reducing interest expense; and finally, as we buy back shares using the majority of the remaining $2.4 billion of proceeds from the Canada sale.

Now Robert will share some closing remarks.

Robert L. Edwards

Thanks, Pete. I'd like to finish our prepared remarks with just a few comments. The exit of the Chicago market should allow us to focus on growing our sales and profitability in our core markets. The tax benefit that the exit will generate will allow us to buy additional shares and may be used to invest in growth opportunities.

The sale of our Canadian operations is expected to close in the fourth quarter and be accretive in the short to medium term after we pay down debt, repurchase shares and modestly grow earnings. Each market that we operate in represents an opportunity to enhance shareholder value.

Our U.S. IDs are running well above last year at 1.6% year-to-date. Adjustments have been made to resolve the unintended shrink that occurred in the third quarter. This issue is expected to be behind us in the fourth quarter. We expect to continue to generate strong free cash flow from continuing operations. We also continue to believe that the obligations we have under multi-employer pension plans are manageable. As we've shared previously, our U.S. multi-employer contributions are determined through collective bargaining and our overall contract celebrants have continued to be reasonable. With the help of the Pension Protection Act, we typically have 10 to 13 years, or longer if needed, to fully fund these plans. We continue to believe that this is a very manageable situation and one that we work closely with our bargaining partners to resolve.

And finally, while we did not find the quarterly results entirely satisfactory, we achieved some significant milestones during the quarter. Through the actions taken, we have established a strong foundation and momentum, which should allow us to achieve our goal of increasing sales and profitability and continue to demonstrate our commitment to create shareholder value.

And now we'll be happy to take questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from Ed Kelly.

Edward J. Kelly - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Credit Suisse. I have a few questions for you, Robert. I guess to start, I guess the fact that the Chicago sale allows you to offset some of the tax gain that needs to be paid in Canada. Does that essentially kind of confirm that all of the $1.8 billion in taxes will actually be paid in the U.S.? Is that how we should think about that?

Robert L. Edwards

Well, some of the tax will be paid in Canada, as well as some in the U.S.

Edward J. Kelly - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Can you give us a sense as to whether it's more in the U.S., more in Canada? How that sort of splits out?

Robert L. Edwards

Yes, we haven't provided any guidance on that, Ed, at this point.

Edward J. Kelly - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Are there -- so are there additional taxes to be paid in the U.S., about $400 million to $450 million that you talked about today?

Robert L. Edwards

Yes, we -- I haven't got that prepared. Let us do some work on that, we'll get back to you on that.

Edward J. Kelly - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Okay. And then related to Chicago, could you maybe just talk a little bit about what went into the decision to sell that asset? At this point, it seems like you've announced the exit. I don't know, have you shocked [ph] it at this point? Is that not an option? Will you be -- going forward, is there additional cash to be generated by maybe selling stores individually? How should we think about other ways to generate cash there?

Robert L. Edwards

Yes, Ed, good question. We've just recently made the decision to exit the market. So we have begun the process of marketing the assets and have received significant interest. And so we're working on that in earnest with a number of different parties, and so we're actually quite pleased with the interest that we're seeing. So the objective will be to sell all or as many of the stores as we can, as quickly as we can, so we do expect to generate cash from the disposition of the source.

Peter J. Bocian

And Ed, if you look at the release, we tried to give a lot more supplemental data around Dominick's and Chicago. So there's several schedules that call out kind of the variable profit and EBITDA related to the operation. And I think when you look at that, you can clearly see that's a big part of the criteria as we evaluate the market and future potential.

Robert L. Edwards

As I think about the Chicago market, Ed, it's quite -- relative to our other markets, quite fragmented, quite diverse, number of independent competitors there. And also we've seen an influx of new companies competing there. When we look at sales, the losses we've sustained there, market share and the resources that we're allocating to support that business, the conclusion was we just have not been able to make as much progress as we would have liked. And so we believe that reallocating our resources to the core assets, we believe, is in the best interest of our shareholders.

Edward J. Kelly - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

And if you were to sell Chicago, whether it be pieces or altogether, would that essentially reduce the withdrawal liability that you talked about in the press release or do you want to hook for that no matter what is planned?

Robert L. Edwards

No. It's -- the numbers stated in the press release, Ed, basically we think represent about worst-case scenario. And there are a number of factors that may influence that. And so based on who the eventual buyers are, that number could, and we expect, will come down. So, for example, if assets or -- if our existing assets are purchased by companies so that will assume the unionized obligation, that withdrawn liability will decrease.

Peter J. Bocian

But we did think it was important to quantify, call it, the high end of the range, and then you can see that there's a mitigating tax component that we called out as well.

Edward J. Kelly - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Yes, okay. And then Robert, you mentioned that you're reviewing all businesses and you've sort of specifically talked about core markets. Could you just help us understand what you'd think a core market is? How you evaluate the businesses in terms of what you think about going forward in terms of could be a divestiture, may not be a divestiture?

Robert L. Edwards

We'll be -- we took action on the lowest performing division that we operate. Past that, Ed, I'm probably not going to provide much detail. I will say that everything we're doing is to maximize shareholder value. And if you think about what we've done in Canada, what we've done with Chicago and then the partial IPO with Blackhawk, I think it demonstrates that commitment. So as we move forward with our assessment and the strategic review that we have underway, we're focused on the steps that will drive that value. Now we believe strongly in our prospects in the core business, and we're continuing to invest in those. And so as we move through time, we'll continue to evaluate various assets. And as I commented in some of the introductory remarks, we were very excited about the clustering work that we're doing. I think this fits into the category, Ed, that I've mentioned on the Q2 earnings call about localization. I think that we'll be talking about this for a long time. I think there will be significant benefits from us tailoring the assortment in individual stores to the local demographic. And the success that we're seeing, if you combine center of store, premium, Hispanic, if you look at the IDs of those stores relative to the average that we've just reported for the quarter, they're substantially higher than the average for the company. And so we are very encouraged by that and we have plans to significantly expand what we've done. And so as we move through the balance of the year, and particularly into next year, it will increasingly be a focus for us. And I think a way to improve the operations and the existing divisions we're in to improve local share and sales, operating income and shareholder value. But as we look at all these things, Ed, and this applies to what the -- we did in Canada, applies to what we did with the IPO of Blackhawk and then in the announcement of Chicago today, the guiding principle that the management team is using here is the objective of maximizing long-term shareholder value. And so we have and will continue to do what we think the right thing is for shareholders. And so that's a general way, I think, to address your question that I think kind of states an overarching guiding principle that we'll use to look at all of our businesses.

Edward J. Kelly - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Great. And if I could squeeze one more in here. Blackhawk, the lockup expires in a couple of weeks. There is the option to do a tax-free split-off. Any thoughts there at this point?

Robert L. Edwards

Well, our -- as we stated previously, Ed, we currently have no intention right now of monetizing any of our ownership in Blackhawk at this point. And as you state, we had -- in the structure that we put in place, we have the option to do a tax-free spinoff. And so as I said in kind of the answer to your previous question, the guiding principle for what we do is maximizing long-term shareholder value.

Operator

Our next question comes from Chuck Cerankosky.

Charles Edward Cerankosky - Northcoast Research

Northcoast Research. Robert, if -- I'm looking at this Chicago announcement. And is the tax benefit of $400 million to $450 million available immediately? And is it separate from the future present value of the tax benefits as you pay down the withdrawal liability?

Robert L. Edwards

Well, they're separate in one respect but they're all related because the withdrawal liability is a function of us exiting the market. And as I -- as we mentioned earlier that we believe is a worst-case scenario. So, I mean they are related to some extent. But the tax benefits, we will get, and they will be available in the near term.

Peter J. Bocian

Yes. Cash benefit, what we try to do is the $400 million to $450 million is near-term available. The other $145 million is really tied to think of it as the 40% or so on whatever the liability becomes on the pension. So that's where the timing will sync.

Robert L. Edwards

And the key thing, Chuck, on the multi-employer withdrawal liabilities that -- we expect that would be any liability there, and hopefully those numbers will be smaller than what we've given in the press release based on who buys the assets. It will be paid over a 20-year period. So it's not like that amount of cash needs to be provided up front.

Charles Edward Cerankosky - Northcoast Research

Yes, that I understood. And so what generates that $400 million cash benefit right away? Is that a loss from shutting it down?

Robert L. Edwards

Yes, well essentially, Chuck, it's -- we're simply writing off essentially all of the remaining investment in Dominick's for income tax purposes. If I [indiscernible] what the original price was we paid for the assets in 1998 and essentially, that's what's driving the tax benefit that we'll receive by affecting this transaction.

Charles Edward Cerankosky - Northcoast Research

All right, that helps. Glad I cleared that question out. Now you've got, I think, you said 2.2% comps fourth quarter to date and yet you've nudged down the guidance a bit for comps for the full year. Can you explain that? I would think you'd be going the other way.

Peter J. Bocian

Well, we had a range of 1.5% to 2%. We narrowed it to 1.6% to 1.9%, with a 1.6% year-to-date. So the expectation is Q4 will be at least as good as the first 3 and/or better. But that's really -- we've narrowed the range, 1.5% won't happen, don't think we'll get to 2%, but still try to give you a range given we've still got 3 months ahead of us -- 3 periods ahead of us.

Charles Edward Cerankosky - Northcoast Research

All right, that's fair. What can you say about corporate overhead shrinking as an expense post-closing CSL?

Robert L. Edwards

Well, the -- we will provide transition services for some period of time to Sobeys, but that is an issue that we will have to deal with. I mean we're allocating some corporate overhead to the Canadian assets now. And so as you make these decisions, that's an issue that we'll have to deal with. And I think the history of the company, Chuck, you'll agree is we're very good at cost reduction. And it's been, I think, a strength of the company for many years. And so it's an issue that we're looking at right now, actually.

Charles Edward Cerankosky - Northcoast Research

But nothing to quantify?

Robert L. Edwards

Not at this time.

Charles Edward Cerankosky - Northcoast Research

CapEx guidance has come down for this year. And I know it's a little early, but should we expect an increase in CapEx in 2014 for continuing ops?

Robert L. Edwards

Chuck, we won't give -- we'll give guidance for next year at the Investor Conference again, which we've typically held in March. And the reduction in CapEx that we announced today relative to the prior guidance is basically due to some delays in some of the real estate projects that we're working on, but we'll have further clarity on the CapEx budget for next year at the Investor Conference in March.

Operator

And our next question comes from John Heinbockel.

John Heinbockel - Guggenheim Securities, LLC, Research Division

Guggenheim Securities. So Robert, if you look at the sequential weakness in gross, was that almost evenly split between shrink and the lack of passthrough of inflation, or did one weigh more than the other?

Robert L. Edwards

It was more heavily weighted to shrink, John. And essentially it was a decision we needed to make for the long-term health of the business. And the guidance that I'm giving the management team and this is at the corporate, as well as I'm in the stores with store managers, is that the #1 responsibility here for all of us is: first, sales; and secondly, generating total operating income dollars. And so when I meet with the best store managers we have when I'm visiting stores, I'll often ask them what they perceive to be their most important responsibilities. The best store managers say, "My #1 responsibility is sales and the second is total operating income dollars." And that's the philosophy that we're using. Other store managers sometimes will often say, "Well, my #1 responsibility is controlling shrink." And that provides a teaching opportunity to help them understand their #1 priority is sales and secondly, operating income dollars. And so the philosophical change we've made in running the business is that we need to have a balanced approach to sales and income. Now when we've made this change, there was always the risk that given how tightly we've controlled shrink for many, many years that we would have some execution risks. And so I knew that going in, but having recognized the possibility of that, it's the right thing to do for the long-term health of this business and reflects back to the guiding principle about long-term -- creating long-term shareholder value. So unfortunately, we did have a bit of unplanned shrink in some of our areas in certain divisions, certain parts of the stores and that's been fixed, John. We just finished our -- the first 4 weeks of the fourth quarter, which is our period 10, and that issue has been solved. We're back on track to our targets. And so it's a risk that I understood going in, based on this philosophical change, but it's the right thing that we needed to do to have a more sales-oriented culture and then driving total operating income dollars by store.

John Heinbockel - Guggenheim Securities, LLC, Research Division

So am I right in thinking that, that might have been -- when you think about the shrink, it might have been in stock in perishable areas and is more perishable than anything else? Or is that not fair?

Peter J. Bocian

Yes, what I was going to add is that in general, the majority of the shrink is around the perishables when you look at the pie. It's also the area where we're getting more growth within the ID numbers we're looking at. So it's a natural cost of business in the perishable space. We had an unplanned, call it, above target element in Q3 and then Robert talked about at least what we're seeing for the first part of Q4.

Robert L. Edwards

And also, John, if you recall at the Investor Conference when we took a tour of the Blackhawk store, and that was one of the first stores that we had re-merchandised to be a premium store, as you recall in that store we had added 200-plus produce items, many of those being organic. As we've implemented that initiative in a number of stores, there might be some risks that you might have some shrink as we adjust individual stores to the local demand. And then also as consumers realize the breadth of product offering we have in those premium stores. And so in the transition from emphasizing more of a sales culture and then also the premium stores, and to some extent, even the center store remodels that we're doing, there is a possibility for some more shrink. So unfortunately, we had that issue but we believe that we've corrected that.

John Heinbockel - Guggenheim Securities, LLC, Research Division

So how significant do you think this philosophical shift is? It sounds fairly major, and why now?

Robert L. Edwards

Well, I think that if you come back to the guiding principle that I talked about earlier, I think it's in our shareholders' best interest. And the #1 priority here is sales. Second priority is operating income dollars and that's what I communicate to retail employees and everybody that I come in contact with. And then I often ask store managers, division managers, business unit managers, what are your ideas to do that, to increase operating income and sales? And it's -- we have some very fruitful discussions. So we're doing, I think, an extensive job of tapping the ideas of the great people we have that work in this company to create shareholder value.

John Heinbockel - Guggenheim Securities, LLC, Research Division

If you think about the improvement in comp, say over the last 9 to 12 months, is -- when you look at Just for U maturation versus the expansion of the gas program, has gas been a bigger driver this year? And does -- then Just for U need to become a bigger driver when you cycle gas?

Robert L. Edwards

No. I think if you look at the total year, I would still say Just for U is a bigger driver because the fuel partnership we have with Chevron, Exxon has rolled out in stages throughout the year. In fact, the last geography is rolling out right now, which would be Texas, and so it's been a staggered launch. And so I would still say, Just for U is a bigger contributor. And while we're talking about that, we're very pleased with what's happening in the Just for U platform: terrific technology, great intellectual property and is, we think, a sustainable competitive advantage going forward.

John Heinbockel - Guggenheim Securities, LLC, Research Division

All right. And then one last thing, has the health care initiative been tabled for now or is that still banging around somewhere?

Robert L. Edwards

We're not making any announcements on that. We're working -- continue to work on that, John. And we anticipate having more to say about that in future quarters, but no announcement today.

Operator

Our next question comes from Karen Short.

Karen F. Short - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Deutsche Bank. Just a couple of questions. A couple of questions just on the comp accelerating into the fourth quarter. I'm guessing a part of that is a function, not including Chicago. But obviously, there's a couple of other elements because Chicago couldn't have been that big of a drag. Maybe some color there?

Peter J. Bocian

Yes, I'll let Robert give the color on the acceleration. But if we did give you a slide in the release that showed with the expectation of Chicago going to discontinue, you could see the slight improvement you get out of Chicago not being in the comps. But we've been given the guidance based on, and the numbers we're quoting as far as 2.2% quarter-to-date includes Dominick's. So we haven't pulled it out, but we did try to give supplemental information in the release around IDs, with or without.

Robert L. Edwards

So just to clarify, the 2.2% nonfuel ID increase quarter-to-date we're seeing in the fourth quarter includes Dominick's performance. If you excluded that, it would be slightly higher.

Karen F. Short - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Okay. That's helpful. And then in terms of -- you've made comments on what your IDs are looking like at the stores that are premium, Hispanic and has had center store initiatives. How many stores are in those 3 buckets? And any color on what the IDs are looking like at the stores?

Robert L. Edwards

We're not -- Karen, we're not going to give specific idea -- IDs on those specific stores, but they're substantially in excess of what the company average is. And we've got the numbers on the total store...

Melissa C. Plaisance

We didn't split it up between the [indiscernible] .

Robert L. Edwards

Okay. Karen, we'll get you that number offline.

Karen F. Short - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Okay. And then you guys -- you talk about investing and growth opportunities. I just want to understand, does that mean more -- is that more about investing in price to grow your existing assets or buying an asset? Could be both, which way are you leaning towards more?

Robert L. Edwards

Well, we are looking at a number of ways to improve the profitable growth going forward. And it includes things like we're doing now in center store, in premium and those things, localization efforts. But other initiatives that we can do to leverage the strengths that we have. And also we're focusing on -- I mean, it all starts with the consumer. And as we mentioned earlier, we serve a very diverse group of customers. And so we're spending quite a bit of time analyzing what we're doing to meet the needs of this diverse customer base. And as you look at the demographic profile of the country and birthrates, by ethnicity, significant changes have occurred and will occur over future years. And so we think there's significant upside by us tailoring the assortment to different consumer groups that we serve. I mean, we are -- we have a great benefit of the geographies that we have our stores in, but it's a diverse group of customers and I think there's significant upside by improving how we serve their needs.

Karen F. Short - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Okay. And that's helpful. And then just last question, you made a comment that you didn't have increases in dairy and meat. Was that because you saw changes in the competitive environment or was that a conscious decision to gain share? And I guess the second question is did you see any competitive reaction?

Robert L. Edwards

Karen, I missed -- I couldn't hear the first part of your question.

Karen F. Short - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

You said you didn't pass on price increases in dairy and meat. And I was wondering if that was because you saw a change in the competitive environment or was it a conscious decision? And then was there any competitive reaction?

Peter J. Bocian

Yes, it was -- I was trying to draw the contrast between kind of Q2, where there wasn't much lag between the cost increases and it's showing up in price, and Q3 that were -- there was more of a lag and it was in line with the competitive market as opposed to some other decisions. So I would say, the first part of your question, not the second.

Operator

Our next question comes from Ken Goldman.

Kenneth Goldman - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

It's JPMorgan. I think around a decade ago, you tried to sell Dominick's. But correct me if I'm wrong, the winning bidder and union couldn't reach an agreement. What's your level of confidence this won't happen again?

Robert L. Edwards

We are highly confident that we'll complete this transaction.

Peter J. Bocian

Yes, and I also wouldn't think of it necessarily as one -- Canada was one transaction. Around -- Chicago, will be multiple, potentially, transactions as opposed to -- we'd love to find a buyer for 72 stores, but it probably will play out in pieces.

Kenneth Goldman - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Okay. And then your stock's indicating up almost 10%. Assuming this is sticky increase, to what extent does that positive reaction factor into your decision to maybe exit other markets as well? I mean it helps, obviously. I guess I'm just trying to understand a little bit how it factors in, how you weigh that as you think about maybe divesting other assets you might consider non-core.

Robert L. Edwards

Well, as we mentioned earlier, the -- our assets in Chicago are the lowest performing division that we have. And we said there are no other comments on other divisions. But what we did say is that all of our decisions are guided by what creates the most value for shareholders long term. But having said that, we believe strongly in the prospects for our core business and we are continuing to invest both capital spending, but also pricing investments based on those assets. So we are very optimistic about the core business going forward.

Operator

Our next question comes from Andy Wolf.

Andrew P. Wolf - BB&T Capital Markets, Research Division

BB&T Capital Markets. I wanted to circle back and also ask a follow-up on the shrink. So you said it was a $0.06 variance or miss to your budget, right? But that's not the swing, the actual swing is bigger than that because you did plan increased shrink. I just wanted to double check that.

Robert L. Edwards

Yes.

Peter J. Bocian

Yes. The year on -- the $0.06 was -- as we started the quarter, we gave out new targets based on expectation of higher revenue and we missed that internally. We were trying to share against our internal expectations, that was the delta. But clearly, year-on-year, it's a bigger number, which would've been, call it, the planned versus unplanned components.

Andrew P. Wolf - BB&T Capital Markets, Research Division

Fair enough. And that full $0.06 unplanned component is being managed down or has been fully managed down to plan at this point?

Robert L. Edwards

Yes, we're back on target in the first 4 weeks of the fourth quarter.

Peter J. Bocian

Q4. Yes, Q4 quarter-to-date, on track. So yes.

Andrew P. Wolf - BB&T Capital Markets, Research Division

So these kind of things often happen when a big change in go-to-market strategy, I'm not surprised that it showed up like this. Would you attribute it more to sort of just trial-and-error and department managers figuring out the right levels or was it a technology fix? Or was this sort of just an overzealousness like, let's get sales going and if we got a miss on shrink, we got a miss. Was it sort of -- which is sort of the tone, it sounds like that might have been sad.

Robert L. Edwards

Well, I think, Andy, it's always a combination of things. And as you know, this is a large enterprise over a large geography. And some of the initiatives were executed well and some weren't. And at the same time, as I mentioned earlier, we're changing the philosophy on this, having balanced culture between sales and operating income. We're also implementing, as you saw at the Blackhawk store, this premium re-merchandising issue. That takes a bit of work to implement that, but also for consumers to realize that we have 200 more produce items. And so there's a balance between adjusting to that. And so some execution issues there, but also some time customers realizing we have this breadth of product and them seeing that, and then us capturing a higher share of their wallet. And so while it was unplanned, the strategy decision we've made, I think, is the right call for the long-term health of the business and the initiatives that we're implementing to tailor our assortment to the local needs is a winner and will continue to be for a long time.

Peter J. Bocian

Yes. And Andy, I'd add that, as Robert mentioned, it wasn't across the board. So you wouldn't take all 1,400 stores and say, everyone missed target. So we had divisions that met their targets and were at the higher end of the IDs. So it's not a broad brush, which I think helps in the targeting of where we need the education and the change.

Robert L. Edwards

As I -- Andy, as I mentioned earlier, the good thing is this is -- we control this. This isn't based on some external influence, this is something that we control. We have a very good history here of managing shrink. And so that is the good news part of the story and also that we think we've resolved it.

Andrew P. Wolf - BB&T Capital Markets, Research Division

Okay, great. And then I think when you announced earnings last second quarter, it was in -- running around 1.4% so -- and you sounded pretty confident then that sales would improve and they did almost immediately. I mean, they've been running about 2%. I was estimating 2%-plus since mid-third -- right around since you updated the early part of the third quarter. So it's not just -- I don't think it's just early fourth quarter that you hit 2%. So first of all, I want to see if you can confirm that.

Robert L. Edwards

You're right. You're right. If you look at the late, I believe, part of the third quarter, it's close to the performance that we're seeing in the early part of Q4.

Andrew P. Wolf - BB&T Capital Markets, Research Division

I'm sure you've been asked this, but what is most visible -- what was most visible that turned out to be right in your optimism, if you can rank them, or maybe it's so much is going on? But -- and was it the center store or the premium store or what's going on with the fuel? How do you add -- if you were to build a bridge to the increased sales and -- because we're trying -- I'd like to go and see where this could go from here, obviously.

Robert L. Edwards

Well, good question, Andy. But the answer is all of the above and we have calculations to show what we believe is coming from each initiative, but you have to make a lot of assumptions to get there and so it's all of the above. It's continuing benefit from Just for U, it's the fuel program and the rollout we're having with partnering with Chevron and Exxon. It's the center of store project that you saw when you were here, premiums stores. And also we're very excited about what we're doing in re-merchandising those stores that index very high for Hispanic customers. And I think we're early in our effort there and we have significant upside to better serve the needs of that customer base. And so it's all of the above that's contributing to that. And then plus blocking and tackling.

Andrew P. Wolf - BB&T Capital Markets, Research Division

And lastly I wanted to follow up on the issue with passing through some of the commodity inflation. Did that happen across the board or was that more in certain markets? I'm trying to get to, was it more competitive or kind of -- was it a competitive issue and was it just in certain markets?

Robert L. Edwards

Well, I think, it's -- again, it varies during -- because as you know, Andy, from time to time, competitors will do various things on a week-to-week basis and so it varies by geography during part of the quarter and it can change. So some competitive reaction there, but as we -- when we've had this same lag effect on inflation, we've generally been able to pass that on in incoming quarters.

Andrew P. Wolf - BB&T Capital Markets, Research Division

Okay. Would you say it was more other grocery stores, supermarket chains or was it more like nontraditional type of players?

Robert L. Edwards

Yes, it varies. It varies by geography.

Operator

Your next question comes from Meredith Adler.

Meredith Adler - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Meredith Adler from Barclays. I'd like to ask just one question about -- if the shrink was substantially worse, there is often a relationship between higher sales and higher shrink. Do you think that by changing your approach to shrink that there will be any impact on the sales?

Robert L. Edwards

Clearly, yes, Meredith. I'll just give you an example. In the quarter, one of our executives in a meeting said, "Would you allow a higher shrink target if I could -- if they could deliver higher sales and higher total operating income dollars?" And that took half a nanosecond to say, yes. And so in many -- in a number of cases, we are and that benefited us in the quarter and we expect will benefit us going forward of having higher sales, higher total operating income, if our shrink targets aren't as tough as they've been historically.

Peter J. Bocian

Yes. The way I would describe it, though, is we think we've embedded in the new targets enough what -- to get the IDs we're talking about. So those are married up different than what we saw in Q3. So in the Q4, $0.93 to $1 bps or the EBITDA I gave you is a higher shrink assumption associated with selling more, but not the, call it, startup that we saw in Q3.

Meredith Adler - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Got it. Okay. That's very helpful. And then I have a question about the tax rate this quarter. I mean, you explained -- well, kind of said, it came from a bunch of different items, but could you give us some idea of what earnings per share -- is it appropriate to take your pretax income and use a more normalized tax rate to come up with earnings per share should be? Or is there something else that we should be looking at?

Peter J. Bocian

Yes, I tried to quantify that the whole impact of moving down to 19.5% is $2.5 million. So Q3 and Q1 are not huge earnings per share or profit quarters. So a little movement in taxes can swing the rate dramatically. So think of it that way. It helped a little in the $0.10 non-GAAP EPS, but not -- if you had -- not like you'd see in a fourth quarter.

Meredith Adler - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Got it. And then I have -- my questions are all over the place, but I want to talk about the multi-employer exit liability pension plan, MEDP exit liability. I understand that this is a worst-case that you're laying out. I'm just wondering whether some of that liability relates to Dominick's employees that are retired, and I guess it must. And so that even if you were able to sell every single -- all 72 stores as ongoing entities and they keep the unionized employees, you would still have a liability. Is that fair?

Robert L. Edwards

Meredith, because there's so much uncertainty here in terms of who the buyers are going to be, again we've quantified what we think is the worst case estimate here, and so we're not giving them any more clarity there. We'll -- I think when we report our Q4 earnings, clearly, we'll have a lot more clarity and have made more progress on this issue and then we'll be able to -- we'll give you a lot of details on that then.

Meredith Adler - Barclays Capital, Research Division

I guess I was asking for a best case since you are kind enough to give us the worst case, but we won't see [ph] any of that.

Robert L. Edwards

Yes, it's really unknown at this point. It depends on the mix of acquirers of these stores. And so I think what we'll -- we'll hold off giving you the best case and -- until we make a little progress here.

Meredith Adler - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Okay. And I guess my final question will just be about the improvement in sales. Is there any particular, either region or category, you don't have to be specific, but is it a broad-based improvement? Or is it sort of specific to certain categories or regions?

Robert L. Edwards

Yes, yes, Meredith, a good question. It's very broad-based. I think of all of our business units, I think in Q4-to-date, 15 of 16 business units have improved and very broad-based geographically as well. So very encouraged with that. It's led by strong perishable growth, but we're also pleased with what's happening on the nonperishable side of the business. So I would say broad-based, looking at business units within the store, but then also geographically as well.

Operator

Our next question comes from Scott Mushkin.

Scott Andrew Mushkin - Wolfe Research, LLC

Yes, it's Wolfe Research. Just a couple of clarity questions for me. A couple of clarity questions for me. Hopefully you can hear me, I'm on a cell. But as far as the tax offset, Robert, is that permanent? In other words even if you were to sell these assets and get some money, you always realize that?

Peter J. Bocian

So there are two tax elements. There's the $400 million to $450 million, which is based on our tax rate against the assets we have on the balance sheet and writing them off, okay? So that's near-term, we believe, highly probable. The other one is depending on the amount of the withdrawal liability, it will have a corresponding 39%, 40% tax rate. So think of it as very -- it'll move as the $375 million moves. And also timing-wise, if it's over x number of years, it will also correspondingly have that timing impact. That helped?

Scott Andrew Mushkin - Wolfe Research, LLC

I mean, a little bit. I guess what I was wondering is that if you realize benefits, is that the $400 million to $450 million, is that permanent?

Robert L. Edwards

That's a -- it's a one-time [indiscernible] .

Peter J. Bocian

Yes, that's the disposition of...

Robert L. Edwards

Yes, it's a one-time benefit related to the disposition of the assets in Chicago. Essentially, we're writing off the investment base for income tax purposes. So it's a one-time benefit.

Peter J. Bocian

Yes, that's why we try to separate the 2 and not merge the tax because they really are 2 different events with 2 different timings.

Scott Andrew Mushkin - Wolfe Research, LLC

And then -- any sale of those assets in Chicago, which you're going to try to do, does that -- how does that handle tax laws there? Bringing forward, maybe these are regular questions, but I'm just trying to understand.

Peter J. Bocian

Well, certainly, depending on how -- the price that we get for the asset sale, it can move the tax somewhat. But we think we factored that in already and this will be a tax near-term benefit. But yes, that could move a little bit based on what people pay for the assets, right?

Melissa C. Plaisance

That's why there's a range.

Peter J. Bocian

And that's why there's a range.

Scott Andrew Mushkin - Wolfe Research, LLC

Okay. Perfect. And then my final question is on shrink. Robert, I think when we were in New York, I was ready to pop the champagne bottles when you said you were going to relax those shrink targets. And I just wanted to make sure I heard what you said correctly, too, I think it was Meredith's question or maybe it was the one made before that, is that you're not going back to where you came from. You like focusing in -- Okay. Go ahead.

Robert L. Edwards

No, no, no. Heavens know, Scott. Right call in terms of strategy. We had a near-term execution issue, which there was some risk, given the philosophical change, and we're all over that and I think that's behind us. And no, we're not going back. It is the right thing to do for the long-term health of this business and for our shareholders. And in the short-term issue, I would just look at it as temporary and long-term, a significant upside for the benefit of the company.

Operator

Our next question comes from Damian Witkowski.

Damian Witkowski - Gabelli & Company, Inc.

Robert, it's Damian Witkowski with Gabelli & Company. The 72 stores you own in Chicago, how many do you actually own the real estate under?

Robert L. Edwards

It's a relative -- yes, they're mostly leased. I think it's in the range of 15 to 20, something like that.

Damian Witkowski - Gabelli & Company, Inc.

And then I missed it on the IDs, up 1.9%. How much was volume and how much was volume and how much was price?

Peter J. Bocian

1. -- so volume was 0.8% and price was 1.1%.

Damian Witkowski - Gabelli & Company, Inc.

And if you look at volume around the store, is it in the center or is it mostly on the perishable side of things?

Robert L. Edwards

Well, it's -- currently perishables is the biggest driver of growth right now. So we're seeing positive growth in nonperishables as well, but primarily driven by perishables.

Damian Witkowski - Gabelli & Company, Inc.

Then on competition, I mean, it's been a while since we've seen irrational behavior and it seems like it started this quarter. Has it continued into the fourth quarter?

Robert L. Edwards

Well, I would describe it -- there's always in this business one competitor may do something in one market one week and that would change the next. So I mean, just the nature of this business is there are changes from week-to-week and by geography to geography. But if you step back and look at it overall, I would say it's about the same level of competitive intensity.

Peter J. Bocian

I was drawing in more of a contrast Q2 to Q3. And then try to give you some insight into the Q4 kind of what we've assumed in the guidance.

Damian Witkowski - Gabelli & Company, Inc.

And then is it fair to say that most likely beginning of 2014, you'll have about $4.4 billion in taxes -- in money available for debt repayments, which will be about $2 billion and then $2.4 billion left for share buybacks?

Robert L. Edwards

Yes. I mean as we indicated earlier, our -- we currently expect the sale of our Canadian assets to close in the fourth quarter. And then depending upon that, we are in the quarter that cash shows up, we'll start to deploy that, but it's based on how much time we have left in the quarter to execute.

Damian Witkowski - Gabelli & Company, Inc.

And then, Robert, remind me, in the past I think you've done an accelerated share repurchase program and I'm not sure if you're currently looking at that and what the -- your view on that be.

Robert L. Edwards

Well, our -- if you go back and look at our history, we've used generally open market purchases. That's our historical pattern. I mean, we're currently evaluating a range of alternatives and we'll continue to look at that up until when we actually give -- get the cash. Our pattern historically has not been to advertise our strategy in advance.

Damian Witkowski - Gabelli & Company, Inc.

And I know you already commented on Blackhawk and you have no plans to monetize your position. But in terms of options and the most tax-efficient options going forward, what would they be once you do decide to monetize the position?

Robert L. Edwards

Well, as I indicated earlier, the way we've set up the structure is we have the ability to do a tax-free spinoff if we chose to.

Operator

Our final question comes from Deborah Weinswig.

Deborah L. Weinswig - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Citi. I wanted to know how are you looking at pharmacy as a traffic driver going forward? And can you touch on the role of the health care clinics, too, please?

Robert L. Edwards

We are very bullish about our pharmacy business and the role it plays in our future. If you look at the long-term trends that will affect grocery for many years going forward, it's wellness. And we have a very strong pharmacy business, good leadership there and the business is performing very well. And so it is a key part of our go-to -- go-to-market strategy. And I think given the trends, demographic trends and the importance of health care going forward, it will have an increasingly important role in our future.

Melissa C. Plaisance

Thank you, everyone, for participating in the call. Christiane Pelz and I will be available for any follow-up clarification questions, and have a good evening.

Operator

Thank you. That does conclude today's conference. Thank you for your participation and you may now disconnect.

Copyright policy: All transcripts on this site are the copyright of Seeking Alpha. However, we view them as an important resource for bloggers and journalists, and are excited to contribute to the democratization of financial information on the Internet. (Until now investors have had to pay thousands of dollars in subscription fees for transcripts.) So our reproduction policy is as follows: You may quote up to 400 words of any transcript on the condition that you attribute the transcript to Seeking Alpha and either link to the original transcript or to www.SeekingAlpha.com. All other use is prohibited.

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HERE IS A TEXTUAL REPRESENTATION OF THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S CONFERENCE CALL, CONFERENCE PRESENTATION OR OTHER AUDIO PRESENTATION, AND WHILE EFFORTS ARE MADE TO PROVIDE AN ACCURATE TRANSCRIPTION, THERE MAY BE MATERIAL ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR INACCURACIES IN THE REPORTING OF THE SUBSTANCE OF THE AUDIO PRESENTATIONS. IN NO WAY DOES SEEKING ALPHA ASSUME ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY INVESTMENT OR OTHER DECISIONS MADE BASED UPON THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS WEB SITE OR IN ANY TRANSCRIPT. USERS ARE ADVISED TO REVIEW THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S AUDIO PRESENTATION ITSELF AND THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S SEC FILINGS BEFORE MAKING ANY INVESTMENT OR OTHER DECISIONS.

If you have any additional questions about our online transcripts, please contact us at: transcripts@seekingalpha.com. Thank you!

Source: Safeway Management Discusses Q3 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript
This Transcript
All Transcripts