This excerpt taken from the SWY 10-K filed Mar 16, 2005.
Food retailing is intensely competitive. The number of competitors and the amount of competition experienced by Safeways stores varies by market area. The principal competitive factors that affect the Companys business are location, quality, service, price and consumer loyalty to other brands and stores.
Local, regional and national food chains, as well as independent food stores and markets, comprise the Companys principal competition. Safeway also faces substantial competition from convenience stores, liquor retailers, membership warehouse clubs, specialty retailers, supercenters, and large-scale drug and pharmaceutical chains. Safeway and its competitors engage in price competition which, from time to time, has adversely affected operating margins in many of the Companys markets.