Calling time on a household name

Whoever wins the battle for control of the fourth biggest food retailer, the Safeway name will disappear from high streets after a 40-year presence.

The first Safeway opened in Bedford in 1962 and was part of US group Safeway Food Stores. The business grew to 133 shops, becoming the sixth biggest food retailer in the UK, and was sold to Argyll Group in 1987 for£681 million.

As competition intensified during the 1990s, Safeway lost its way until the arrival of chief executive Carlos Criado-Perez in 1999. He set about a transformation of the grocer, which today is a takeover target for three of its rivals.