US grocery retailer Safeway has said its board had voted to declassify itself, a move that will mean each director will have to stand for election or re-election each year.

A majority of Safeway's shareholders voted in favour of such a move in a nonbinding proposal last year. If approved by shareholders in a vote at the 2004 annual meeting, the change will come into effect in 2005.

Currently Safeway's nine directors can serve up to three years before facing re-election. CEO Steve Burd said the one-year terms will make Safeway's directors more accountable to shareholders, reported the Los Angeles Times.