FINANCE

Supervalu swings to Q4 loss; will open 50 Save-A-Lots this year

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Minneapolis — Supervalu Inc. reported Tuesday that it swung to a loss of $424 million in the quarter ended Feb. 25, compared with a $95 million gain a year earlier. Results were negatively impacted by charges related to store closures and employee layoffs, but still beat Wall Street expectations.

The operator of the Albertsons, Save-A-Lot and Jewel-Osco banners has been in the throes of turnaround efforts overseen by CEO Craig Herkert. The company generated sales in the fourth quarter of $8.23 billion, down from $8.66 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales were negative 1.9%. For the full year, net sales were $36.1 billion, down from $37.5 billion in the prior year, and the company lost $1.04 billion, narrowed from a $1.51 billion loss in fiscal 2011.

“We remain focused on delivering improved value for our customers and meeting the specific needs of each community we serve,” said Herkert, adding that he was pleased with the results of the turnaround thus far.

For the upcoming year, he said that capital spending is projected at $675 million, and that the company plans to complete 100 store remodels and increase Save-A-Lot’s store count by 50.

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BJ’s grows local produce program

BY CSA STAFF

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — BJ’s Wholesale Club is capitalizing on the growing demand for locally-grown produce by launching its "Farm to Club" program in each of its 195 clubs in 15 states. Rolling out this spring and summer, the Farm to Club program includes a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that will be clearly marked with a special "Farm to Club, Locally Grown" seal.

BJ’s defines "local" as grown in the state, so naturally availability of certain produce depends upon the weather and growing season for each item in each state. The company touted the benefits of buying local produce, claiming that doing so ensures it is at its peak flavor and nutritional value and that the local economy is being supported.

"As a buyer at BJ’s, I strive to provide the very best produce for members," said Rob Johnson, produce buyer for BJ’s Wholesale Club. "The Farm to Club program is very good for both the members who buy the local fruits and veggies and the farmers who are growing our food."

Currently, Farm to Club produce is available in all Florida clubs. For more information on the program, visit Facebook.com/bjswholesaleclub.

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Former Giant Eagle CFO takes talents to Family Dollar

BY CSA STAFF

MATTHEWS, N.C. —Family Dollar Stores has named Mary Winston to the position of EVP and CFO. Winston will report to Howard Levine, chairman and CEO, and will have executive responsibility for Family Dollar’s financial operations, including accounting, treasury, tax, financial planning, investor relations, and internal audit.

“With more than 25 years of financial management and leadership experience, Mary is an excellent addition to our team,” said Levine. “Her extensive financial experience, combined with her strong communication and analytical skills, make her a great choice to help us execute against our strategic plan to expand our market share and drive greater financial returns.”

In conjunction with this change, Kenneth Smith, former SVP, CFO, expects to leave the company, serving in a transition role as SVP finance until October 2012.

“Throughout his 22-year tenure with the company, Ken has made significant contributions to Family Dollar in a variety of financial and operational areas,” continued Levine. “Under his leadership, Family Dollar has strengthened its financial position and delivered strong returns to shareholders. I sincerely thank him for his service to Family Dollar and appreciate that we will continue to benefit from his expertise during the transition.”

Prior to joining Family Dollar, Winston served for four years as SVP and CFO of Giant Eagle. She also previously served as EVP and CFO of Scholastic, a children’s publishing and media company; as VP, treasurer and then controller of Visteon, an automotive parts supplier; and as VP global financial operations, of Pfizer.

Winston earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and management information systems from the University of Wisconsin and a Masters of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is a certified public accountant.

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