Although no stores are expected to close as a result of Thursday's merger between Albertsons and Safeway, it remains to be seen what effect it will have in the Pikes Peak region, one retail expert said.

Safeway has a bigger presence in the area, with 13 stores in the Springs and surrounding areas.

Albertsons has four Springs locations.

The future of Safeway and Albertsons in the Pikes Peak region could depend on whether their brands merge - not just the parent companies, said Mark Useman of Sierra Commercial Real Estate.

"If they're don't merge the brands, they can run the stores the way they are," he said.

Even if the brands merge, most Albertsons and Safeway locations are separated by several miles and wouldn't necessarily be candidates for consolidation.

There's only one location where Albertsons and Safeway are within a mile of each other - on the Springs' south side, where Albertsons has a store at 455 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd. and Safeway operates at 6520 S. Academy Blvd.

The new ownership also likely will consider store profitability and whether leases are due to expire when deciding if any locations should close, Useman said.

Both chains have a lot of local competition. Wal-Mart has expanded its presence in the market; the world's largest retailer has nine supercenters in the Springs and outlying areas and four smaller Neighborhood Markets.

King Soopers, meanwhile, has 10 area stores. Other high-end, speciality and discount groceries include Whole Foods, Sprouts and Sav-a-Lot.


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