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Supervalu Says Better Store Execution, Fresh Merchandising Key Goals

MINNEAPOLIS - Improved in-store execution, continued reinvestment in its retail store network via the Premium Fresh & Healthy remodel program, and innovative merchandising programs are the building blocks of Supervalu's future, the company's executives told investors at its annual investor conference Wednesday.

In addition to the three key areas outlined above, Supervalu officials also said the company will grow the company's "own" brand programs and make better use of relevant marketing programs for maximum customer impact.

Jeff Noddle, Supervalu's chairman and chief executive officer said his company, fresh from delivering "strong financial performance while transforming the company for the future," is now committed to "executing our plans to generate long-term profitable growth, which includes delivering improved sales, allocating capital to fund our business opportunities, and improving our overall financial condition."

Noddle said the Premium Fresh & Healthy store remodeling and renovation program, which is still in its early phase, is so far generating good results, with sales increases well above overall identical store sales growth.

"We plan to maintain our commitment to the important remodel program, increasing our major remodels in fiscal 2009 to 165 stores, up from fiscal 2008's 125 store remodels," Noddle said.

In other news, Yolanda Scharton, Supervalu's v.p. of investor relations and financial media, will leave the company after more than eight years. Scharton will stay in her role until May 1, and then will consult with the company on special projects. A search for her successor will commence immediately.

"Yolanda's strong relationship with the investment community has been a tremendous asset to the company for many years," said Noddle. "Her strategic communication insight will be missed."

With an estimated $44 billion in annual sales, Supervalu holds leading market share positions across the U.S. with its approximately 2,450 retail grocery locations. Through its nationwide supply chain network, the company provides distribution and related logistics support services to more than 5,000 grocery endpoints across the country.
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