Supervalu's Noddle Sees Shopping Patterns Changing

NEW YORK - Although grocery shoppers have weathered higher gasoline prices fairly well, the chief executive of leading grocery chain Supervalu Inc. here foresees changes in shopping patterns on the horizon.

Speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference held yesterday here, Jeff Noddle, Supervalu's chairman and c.e.o., said while consumers have been much more resilient than expected, he foresees the trend shifting once the lag time gap closes.

So far, however, while shoppers are taking fewer trips to the many stores run by Minneapolis-based Supervalu, once they are there, they are opening their wallets wider, said Noddle.

Noddle also said there have been very few surprises since June, when his company officially became the No. 2 food retailer in the country following the acquisition of Albertsons strongest regional subsidiaries.

Supervalu is currently in the process of remodeling some of the older Albertsons stores while also renegotiating existing deals with several manufacturers and vendors, he said.
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