Safeway expands its stock repurchase plan to up to US$8B from US$7B; company already had repurchased US$6.1B of its stock at the end of Q3

PLEASANTON, California , November 30, 2011 () – Grocery store operator Safeway Inc. said Wednesday that it has expanded its stock repurchase plans by $1 billion.

The company previously had authorization to buy back up to $7 billion of its stock and now can buy back up to $8 billion. Safeway has already repurchased $6.1 billion of its stock under its repurchase program as of the end of its third quarter.

Safeway, based in Pleasanton, Calif., operates 1,681 stores in the U.S. and Canada under banners such as Vons, Randalls and Tom Thumb. It has an estimated 342.8 million shares outstanding.

Shares of the company rose 82 cents, more than 4 percent, to $19.91 in morning trading as part of a broader market upswing.

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