As 2016 comes to a close, Progressive Grocer takes a look back at the most popular stories on our website during 2016 through the end of November. As the second of a three-part series, the story countdown below is presented in inverted order, beginning with 19 through 11.
19. Giant Eagle President/COO John Lucot to Retire
The news that Giant Eagle President and COO John Lucot was retiring after 42 years of service with the company on June 30 ranked as the 19th most popular story on our 2016 news countdown. As one of the company’s most instrumental figures in recent decades, Lucot had been a member of the senior leadership team that orchestrated some of the Pittsburgh-based retailer’s most important initiatives during a period of significant growth and diversification, including the launch of multiformat banners and the popular fuelperks! customer loyalty program.
18. Ahold, Delhaize Shareholders OK Merger
The close of the merger between Ahold and Delhaize, granted by the overwhelming approval of the international retail conglomerates’ shareholders, factored as the 18th most popular story of 2016. “This is a critical milestone in the completion of our proposed merger, which will create an even stronger international food retailer for all stakeholders,” said Jan Hommen, chairman of Amsterdam-based Ahold.
17. Ritchie Casteel Leaving Save-A-Lot
The exit of Save-A-Lot President Ritchie Casteel in March checked in as the 17th top story of 2016. Casteel took the helm of Save-A-Lot – which has since been sold to an affiliate of Toronto-based Onex Corp for $1.365 billion – in February 2013 as president and CEO, until one-time A&P head Eric Claus took over as CEO in January.
16. Kroger Pursuing Israeli Grocery Chain?
Reports that The Kroger Co. was also looking abroad for its next investment landed as our 16th most-read news item in 2016. The Cincinnati-based grocery giant reached an agreement with Israeli investors Yossi Sagol and Eran Meital to bid on Israel’s Mega, a 127-store supermarket chain, and become an operating partner if the alliance succeeds.
15. Albertsons Poised to Buy Price Chopper: Report
Reports that Albertsons Cos. Inc., was in “advanced talks” to acquire the 130-store Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price Chopper for about $1 billion, captured the 15th spot on PG’s top news countdown for 2016. Both Albertsons and Price Chopper – the latter of whose grocery stores are located in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts, and which have been owned by the Golub family since its founding – declined to comment on the speculative acquisition, with the company referring to published report as “rumors.”
14. Progressive Grocer Presents 2016 Top Women In Grocery
The slate of 2016’s Top Women in Grocery hailing from some of the most admired retail and CPG companies around the nation landed as the 14th best-read news story of the year. The Top Women in Grocery awards program, which recognizes and celebrates extraordinary women in three categories, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016.
13. Save-A-Lot Sold for $1.37B
After more than a year of lingering speculation, Supervalu inked a deal to spin off its productive Save-A-Lot subsidiary to an affiliate of Onex Corp., based in Toronto, for $1.365 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. The deal is expected to close by the end of January 2017. As part of the sale, Supervalu and Save-A-Lot will enter into a five-year professional services agreement.
12. Walmart Cutting 7K Jobs: Report
Checking in as our 12th top news story of 2016 was Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s elimination of 7,000 back-office positions, including accounting and invoicing staffers, who were offered more customer-facing roles to further enhance the mega-retailer's customer service. The support staff reductions followed a related effort that Walmart made earlier in 2016 to cut accounting and invoicing jobs at about 500 locations in the western United States, with the same choice of a different job offered to affected employees.
11. Target Suffers Uber Loss of CMO Jeff Jones
Target Corp.'s EVP and CMO Jeff Jones’ departure to become president of ride-sharing firm Uber captured the 11th spot on the lineup of the year’s top news stories. Jones’ exit from the Minneapolis-based retailer was among several other former Target execs who left the company in 2016, including Chief Stores Officer Tina Tyler, Chief Human Resources Officer Jodee Kozlak and SVP of Merchandising Anne Dament.
Part 1 of 2016's news story hit parade can be found here.