Safeway leaving Chicago market, investors approve

In tandem with its Q3 results, Safeway (SWY) announces it's leaving the Chicago market by early 2014, and unloading the 72 Domenick's supermarkets it owns in the area. The move will yield a $400M-$450M cash tax benefit, but will also trigger "a multi-employer pension withdrawal liability" that will cost $375M over 20 years.

Domenick's lost $35.2M ($0.09/share) over the first 9 months of 2013. Excluding Domenick's, Safeway now expects 2013 EPS from continuing ops. of $1.05-$1.12; that's slightly better than prior guidance of $1.02-$1.12, and in-line with a $1.09 consensus. Including Domenick's, guidance now stands at $0.93-$1.

2013 free cash flow guidance is now at $600M-$650M vs. a prior $600M-$700M. Full-year capex guidance has been lowered to $850M-$875M from a prior $900M-$950M. No buybacks took place in Q3.

Same-store sales (exc. fuel) rose 1.9% Y/Y in Q3, and are now expected to see full-year growth of 1.6%-1.9%; prior guidance was 1.5%-2%.

SWY +5.5% AH. CC about to start.

Q3 results, PR

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