Albertsons has always shown care and attention toward its growth strategy, picking markets carefully and abandoning those where it is not the No. 1 or No. 2 grocery chain. It’s not surprising, therefore, that it became the first food and drug retailer in the world to adopt the proven continuous quality disciplines of Six Sigma company-wide. In 2004, 50 “black belts” (highly trained project leaders) began working on projects across the Albertsons enterprise. Six Sigma processes are helping the company improve operating efficiencies - and translating those cost savings into better prices, promotions, and services for customers. With total gross profits for first-quarter 2005 growing by 16 percent, it appears to be working.