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Albertsons (ACI) Gains Market Share on Operational Strength

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Albertsons Companies, Inc. (ACI - Free Report) , one of the widely recognized names in the grocery space, has been making tactical changes to its business operations to adapt and stay relevant in the competitive retail landscape. This Boise, ID-based company has been making concerted efforts to enhance shopping methods and techniques, be it in-store or online. The food and drug retailer has been striving to enhance digital payment facilities alongside expanding the availability of online assortments. It has been strengthening its delivery capabilities to make shopping more seamless.

Let’s Introspect

Albertsons Companies’ focus on providing efficient in-store services, enhancing digital and omni-channel capabilities, and increasing productivity has been contributing to its upbeat performance.

Efforts to bolster assortments, especially in the fresh and Own Brands categories, continue to elevate the customer experience. The company’s right assortment in each local market, loyalty program, and ease of checkout through frictionless and contactless payments have been aiding in attracting customers. Through its “just for U” loyalty program, the company has been acquiring new customers and retaining old members and incentivizing them to spend more and buy more often. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, membership increased 18% year over year to reach nearly 30 million members.

 

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The company has been directing resources toward expanding digital and omni-channel capabilities to better engage with members and provide them a convenient way to shop, whether in-store, curbside or at home. To this end, the company’s unified mobile application, digital wallet, AI chat capability, and expanded self-checkout installations enhance the customer shopping experience. Albertsons Companies’ fourth-quarter digital sales rose 5% year on year and 287% on a two-year stacked basis. The company expanded its Drive Up & Go curbside pickup service to more than 2,000 locations.

In addition to its home delivery network, the company has partnered with third-party delivery services to provide customers with the platform of their choice. It has collaborated with Instacart for rush delivery and DoorDash for the delivery of prepared and ready-to-eat offerings. The company has teamed up with Uber, whereby customers can order a full assortment of groceries on the Uber platform. Recently, Albertsons Companies expanded its partnership with Uber to include more than 2,000 banner stores nationwide. This expansion brings nearly 800 new locations to Uber Eats, including consumers in Connecticut, Indiana, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, and Rhode Island for the very first time.

Markedly, shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have advanced 55.8% in the past year against the industry’s decline of 34.9%.

3 Hot Stocks to Consider

We have highlighted three better-ranked stocks, namely McCormick & Company (MKC - Free Report) , Kroger (KR - Free Report) and Sysco Corporation (SYY - Free Report) .

McCormick, a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of spices, seasoning mixes and condiments, currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The company has an expected EPS growth rate of 6.1% for three-five years. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for McCormick’s current financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of nearly 5% and 3.9%, respectively, from the year-ago reported figure. MKC has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of around 7.3%, on average.

Kroger, the renowned grocery retailer, carries a Zacks Rank #2 at present. The company has an expected EPS growth rate of 9.9% for three-five years.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Kroger’s current financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 3.2% and 4.1%, respectively, from the year-ago reported numbers. KR has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 22.1%, on average.

Sysco Corporation, the leading global foodservice distribution company, carries a Zacks Rank #2. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 9.1%, on average.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Sysco Corporation’s current financial year sales and EPS suggests growth of 32.6% and 124.3%, respectively, from the year-ago period. Sysco has an expected EPS growth rate of 11% for three-five years.