Hedge fund forced Dominick's to close

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Sunday's Tribune (http://bit.ly/1a3HgSD) revealed how Jana Partners, an activist-based Wall Street hedge fund that recently purchased over $300 million in Safeway stock, demanded that Safeway "exit subscale and lower-margin geographies" or face the intense pressures that such funds can exert. Three weeks later Safeway announced its decision to close all of its Dominick's stores. 

The stock Jana held increased by roughly $8 a share. Jana has already sold more than a third of those shares, turning its attention elsewhere.

And we have lost our Dominick's.

I'm too heartsick to look through my mutual funds to see if I hold any Safeway stock. It never would have occurred to me to avoid it because I believe in investing in places where I shop. I can't even bring myself to blame the management of Safeway, one of so many companies that crumbled under the boot-heel of hedge-fund raiders.

I would give back every penny my investments earned this year to have the Lake Street Dominick's back. Every penny just to know that the employees I know by name — Ester, Shawna, Sue, Peter, Cathy, Ricardo and more — still had a job. Every penny to know that Michael — wonderful, sweet Michael with the amazing smile — would start the New Year with a safe and stable routine.  

Jana Partner's founder, Barry Rosenstein, doesn't care. This modern-day Scrooge is already looking for new "inefficiencies" to eliminate.

Thanks to his zeal, we are diminished.

Kris Gallagher

Oak Park

Reader Comments

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OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: January 2nd, 2014 10:43 AM

The comments are correct. It's Safeway's fault ultimately. We live <100 yards from this store, yet made the conscious decision to shop at Target, Meijer's, & Costco instead. The reasons are the same as kathleen pointed out. We're also sorry about the loss of jobs, taxes, etc., & hope the VOP is aggressively promoting the value of this location to other grocers. OPer's love to project the "bogeyman" label to "evil corporations" or "hedge funds" without a clear understanding of either.


Posted: January 2nd, 2014 10:15 AM

Safeway is ultimately to blame for the demise of Dominick's, a once great chain. I grew weary of specials not being on the sales floor, checkout registers not automatically giving discounts, expired products on the shelves including dairy. I am truly sorry for the loss of jobs, sales tax revenue, and a viable grocery store there. The story here is much bigger than any hedge fund demands.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 1st, 2014 10:19 AM

A line from the old movie "you've got mail" "It's nothing personal"

Stephen Miller from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 31st, 2013 8:16 PM

None of us is happy about the closing of a business and the loss of jobs. But we need to acknowledge something else: The hedge fund didn't cause the shopping public to reduce patronage of Dominick's stores -- they recognized it. In the end, it closed for the same reason that pretty much any business closes: there just weren't enough customers to sustain it.

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