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Shaw’s, Star Market parent company heads to IPO

Supermarket chain has seen a staggering surge in revenue amid the coronavirus

A customer reached for boxes of tissue while shopping at Star Market in Marshfield in March.
A customer reached for boxes of tissue while shopping at Star Market in Marshfield in March.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

Massachusetts shoppers are spending much more than normal at Shaw’s and Star Market these days. They’ll soon be able to buy up shares in the company, too.

Grocery conglomerate Albertsons Cos. unveiled details on Thursday about its upcoming initial public offering: The Idaho-based company said it plans to sell 66 million shares at $18 to $20 a share, potentially raising up to $1.3 billion. Citing anonymous sources, the Wall Street Journal said the IPO likely will take place next week, and is primarily being used to pay back private-equity backer Cerberus Capital Management for its investment in the company.

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The company will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “ACI.” It previously began taking steps in 2015 to go public but withdrew those plans before returning to the idea this year.

Albertsons has seen a staggering surge in business as consumers stock up on groceries during the coronavirus pandemic: Sales at stores open at least a year rose 47 percent in March, 21 percent in April, and another 21 percent in May. That compares to minuscule same-store increases for the same periods in 2019 – a year when the company racked up $62.5 billion in revenue.

But the coronavirus pandemic has also brought significant expenses: increased hiring, pay increases, personal protective equipment for workers, tens of millions for hunger relief efforts. The company currently employs about 310,000 people, up from 270,000 at the end of February. The business includes more than 2,200 stores concentrated in the Northeast (West Bridgewater-based Shaw’s and its Star Market sister chain, as well as Acme), the Chicago area (Jewel-Osco), the Dallas-Fort Worth area (Tom Thumb), and the West Coast (Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, and Pavilions).


Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.