(May 14, 9:26 a.m.) Safeway Inc.’s O Organic line, now in the company’s 1,700 stores, is ready to expand further into the retail market.

Steve Burd, chief executive officer, president and chairman of the Pleasanton, Calif.-based retail chain, said in a recent conference call that he expects the products to start appearing in other retail stores by the end of the year.

Launched in 2006, O Organics includes fresh produce, juice and packaged foods. Safeway corporate vice president of public affairs Brian Dowling declined to comment on how many stock-keeping units the line includes or what types of produce are involved in the rollout to other retailers.

Burd said Safeway sold $310 million worth of O Organics products last year and expects to top $400 million this year. He said sales increased 50% in the first quarter compared to the same time last year.

The private label won’t be private much longer. Safeway has announced what it calls a Better Livings Brands Alliance, which will make O Organics and the retailer’s Eating Right brands available to other retailers and foodservice companies.

Safeway said in a news release that co-pack and distribution partners have been signed to support the program, but Dowling declined to provide more details.

Safeway said in the news release that Los Angeles-based marketing company EMAK Worldwide Inc. will handle consumer communications for the initiative, and Plano, Texas-based Crossmark Inc. will work with other retailers.

Safeway subsidiary Lucerne Foods Inc. manages the licensing of O Organics and Eating Right.

Safeway plans to expand its O Organic line
Safeway launched O Organics in 2006.