Supervalu Eyes Sunflower Expansion

MINNEAPOLIS -- Having made the move to jettison its standalone Deal$ stores earlier this week, Supervalu Inc. now has signaled its intent to cultivate Sunflower Market, its new discount organic format.

Supervalu, based here, opened its first Sunflower store in January in Indianapolis, and plans to open about 50 Sunflower markets over five years in Big Ten university towns, according to a report in the Columbus Business First journal.

Having previously announced plans to open a 13,000-square-foot store at South Campus Gateway, and a 15,000-square-foot store at Olentangy Plaza, both in Columbus this fall, Supervalu said it is seeking to open as many as seven neighborhood Sunflower stores in Central Ohio, amid planning for a third store at River's Edge in Dublin, Ohio.

"We opened with no advertising," said John Sturm, director of Sunflower Market, in the press report. "It's been unbelievably successful. Our biggest problem in the grand opening was keeping the shelves stocked."

The Sunflower stores planned for South Campus Gateway and Olentangy Plaza are scheduled to open this fall.

The Sunflower initiative is only one element of a new era for Supervalu. Late last month the retailer-wholesaler, along with CVS, and an investment group led by Cerberus Capital Management reached definitive agreements to acquire Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons, Inc. Supervalu will acquire key retail operations of Albertsons -- a total 1,124 stores -- among them Acme Markets, Bristol Farms, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's Supermarkets, Star Markets, and Albertsons banner stores in the Intermountain, Northwest, and Southern California regions. The acquisition will also include the related in-store pharmacies operating under the Osco Drug and Sav-on banners.
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