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Albertsons said yesterday that its 2020 fiscal year digital sales were up 258 percent, with same store sales for the year up 16.9 percent.

The company said that annual revenue was $69.7 billion, compared to $62.5 billion the previous year.  Net income was $850.2 million, compared to net income of $466.4 million during fiscal 2019.

The unusually high sales increases seen during the pandemic lead Albertsons' management to predict that same-store sales during the coming year are likely to drop between six and 7.5 percent, though it is anticipated that compared to 2019, they will be up between 9.4 and 10.9 percent.

CEO Vivek Sankaran tells Yahoo Finance that he is confident in the company's ability to meet consumer needs going forward:  "We know the economy will open. We know that we won't sustain the same levels of sales as we did in 2020, but our challenge and our confidence is that we'll be able to keep a good portion of those sales so that we finished 2020 better than we would have without a pandemic. That is the game … and we're seeing that play out in our first several weeks of this quarter, like we imagined."

KC's View:

The expectation here is that Albertsons actually may have a better year in 2021 than they're anticipating … mostly because some of the technology investments the company is making will pay off to a greater extent than is being predicted.

Here's an interesting passage from the Yahoo Finance story:

"Last year, Albertsons said it could identify 11 million new customers added last year across its stores.

"'When you can identify them, you can track what they're buying, you can track how often they're coming and how those patterns are changing. And then we have 25 million customers in what we call our loyalty program, where we can engage with them on different kinds of rewards. That's the magic … harnessing that data so we keep them engaged on categories that matter to them,' Sankaran said … As the grocer continues to add more DriveUp & Go curbside pickup locations to fulfill e-commerce orders, the company is already seeing 20% in more spend from customers that use its e-commerce offerings, according to Sankaran."

It's magic … but it also is the willingness to invest in technology that can be a game-changer.