(Aug. 20) PLEASANTON, Calif. — Less than a month after expanding its at-home delivery service into the Seattle metropolitan area, Safeway.com has appointed a new chief operating officer.

Dave Lauffer has been with Safeway.com since 2002 as its vice president of operations. He succeeds Gary Sargeant, an executive with British retailer Tesco PLC, which owns 35% of Safeway.com. Sargeant had been on a two-year assignment in the U.S. with Safeway.com. He recently returned to the United Kingdom to resume work with Tesco.

With his new position, Lauffer will be responsible for in-store and delivery operations for Safeway.com.

Before coming to Safeway.com, Lauffer spent 12 years with Vons, a Safeway-owned company, in a variety of responsibilities. Most recently, he served as retail operations manager in Southern California, and has also served as director of industrial engineering, director of retail support and category manager for frozen foods.

Safeway.com recently launched online grocery shopping services in the Seattle area. The service began delivery from five Safeway stores in the Seattle area July 28. Delivery is available to 34 towns in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

A sixth delivery store opened on Aug. 11 in Seattle. Once the program is fully implemented, it will bring online shopping services to 115 ZIP codes in the Seattle area.

Safeway.com employs its own fleet of drivers, rather than farming the work out to a third-party company. The online grocery also offers a no-hassle return policy, and its drivers are authorized to take returns on the spot. Because of its direct-from-the-store delivery model, Safeway.com is able to offer its customers 40,000 items.

Safeway.com also serves Vancouver, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif.; the San Francisco Bay area; Los Angeles; San Diego and Las Vegas.

For more information, visit Safeway online at www.safeway.com.