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In a presentation to a Lehman Brothers conference in Boston, Safeway CEO Steven Burd said yesterday that the company was committed to developing new “growth engines” every two or three years, and that the company would develop a small-store format if Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market stores prove to be successful when they open later this year in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada.

Burd said that Safeway was ready to do whatever is necessary to defend its market share, and that he felt Safeway was better positioned than Tesco in the long-run because it has a well-established brand identity.

As far as new growth engine examples, Burd said not all would necessarily be in Safeway’s core business. He pointed to Safeway’s Blackhawk Network business, which distributes gift cards and phone cards through retailers all over the country, and is expanding to Australia, France, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
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