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Rainbow Foods Head Resigns

MINNEAPOLIS - Dale Riley, head of Roundy's ailing Rainbow Foods operations, based here, announced his resigation yesterday, according to published reports.

Riley, v.p. and g.m. of Minnesota retail for Milwaukee-based Roundy's, describes his departure, effective today, as "strictly personal and a decision that is in the best interest for myself and my family."

Riley was tapped to head Roundy's Minnesota operations after the company's June 2003 purchase of 30 Rainbow Foods stores in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area from bankrupt Fleming Cos. of Lewisville, Texas. Roundy's additionally runs Pick 'n Save and Copps Foods supermarkets.

"Dale was instrumental in reintroducing the Rainbow banner to the Twin Cities after the Roundy's acquisition," said Roundy's chairman and c.e.o. Bob Mariano in a statement. "I have a great deal of respect for Dale and what he has accomplished."

At one time the area's market share leader, Rainbow, at 14.4 percent, now lags far behind Cub Foods, the current Twin Cities leader with a 33.6 share and 54 area stores, according to Food Industry Research Center figures. Milwaukee retail food analyst David Livingston speculated whether Riley's resignation was related to what he termed Rainbow's declining sales in the wake of Roundy's acquisition.

"It has been a retail Vietnam for Roundy's in the Twin Cities," Livingston told the St. Paul Pioneer Press, citing the fierce competition the company has faced not only from Cub Foods, but also from Target's combined grocery-discount department store concept.

However, Tom Oswald, an official at United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789, which represents Rainbow's St. Paul-area butchers, cashiers, and clerks, told the newspaper that he believes Roundy's business has improved recently, thanks to stronger advertising with lower-priced offerings.

Riley, who joined Roundy's in May 2003, previously served as c.e.o. for Kowalski's Cos. for three years. He also held serveral management and executive positions with grocery store chains Bylerly's and Lunds for 28 years before that. Riley said he'd like to work again in the food industry, but meanwhile he'll help his daughter open a women's clothing store in Edina, Minn.
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