Personnel Updates:

Associated Grocers of New England has promoted Steven Creed to Senior VP of Supply Chain management. Creed will be succeeded by Robert Robichaud, who was promoted to VP of Warehousing and Transportation. Also, Richard Wheeler has been named VP of Human Resources, succeeding Nick Manolis, who is leaving the company to pursue other interests.

Associated Wholesale Grocers announced that Steve Dillard, VP Sales Development plans to retire Jan. 4 after 37 years with the company.

Buehler’s Fresh Foods named Cyndi O’Donnell as the chain’s new Community Relations Manager.

Core-Mark Holding Company announced that it has promoted Christopher K. Hobson, the company’s VP of Marketing, to Senior VP of Marketing and William Stein, VP of the U.S. Distribution (East), to Senior VP of U.S. Distribution (East).

Delhaize America has created a management structure with 50 executives, a 25% reduction, and put about 80% of top leaders at the Salisbury, NC headquarters of Food Lion.

Delek US Holdings Inc. announced the appointment of Assi Ginzburg to CFO. Effective immediately, Ginzburg succeeds Mark Cox, who will continue to serve as Exec VP of both companies through March 31 in order to ensure a smooth transition, the companies stated.

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) announced that Josh Katz, Ph.D. will be its new Director of Food Safety Programs, reporting to Hilary Thesmar, Ph.D., RD, FMI’s VP of Food Safety Programs.

Kroger has announced the promotion of Lynn Gust, Senior VP Operations, to the position of President of Kroger’s Fred Meyer Stores division.

Lowe’s Market has named John Timothy “Tim” Cotton as the company’s new COO.

Meijer announced that J.K. Symancyk has been named President of the retail chain. Mark Murray will become Co-CEO, a newly created position, alongside Hank Meijer.

Murphy Oil Corp. has appointed R. Andrew Clyde as President and CEO of Murphy Oil USA Inc., the U.S. retail marketing subsidiary of Murphy Oil Corp. “Andrew has been intimately involved with the Murphy USA business for several years and has been instrumental in preparing the retail business for our upcoming spinoff,” said Steven Cosse, president and CEO of Murphy Oil Corp.

The National Grocers Association (NGA) announced the promotion of Aileen Dullaghan Munster to VP Education and Research and Matthew R. Ott, MS, CAE to VP, Membership and Information Technology.

The Pantry Inc. has announced that B. Clyde Preslar is joining the executive leadership team as Senior VP and CFO. Preslar will join The Pantry on Feb. 7, 2013.

Safeway announced that longtime Chairman and CEO Steve Burd plans to retire in May 2013.

Spartan Stores has promoted Jerry Jones to Senior VP, Human Resources.

URM Stores said Dean Sonnenberg plans to retire Feb. 28 as President and CEO the member-owned cooperative after nine years in the post. Succeeding him will be Ray Sprinkle, who has spent the last nine years at URM as VP of Retail Services, Sales and Procurement, with responsibilities for the company’s cash-and-carry stores, convenience stores, foodservice operations and field sales representatives.

Whole Foods Market has hired Jason J. Buechel as Global VP and CIO. He will oversee the technology team in Austin and 12 regional offices in the U.S. and United Kingdom.
Financial Focus:

Ahold USA reported fiscal 2012 sales of $25.8 billion.


Mergers and Acquisitions:

7-Eleven acquired 143 Speedy Stop and Tigermarket stores from C.L. Thomas Inc. of Victoria, TX. 7-Eleven plans to interview and offer qualified employees positions within the company. The chain will remodel and rebrand a significant number of the locations to the 7-Eleven brand this year.

Coborn’s acquired Mike’s Super Valu in Watford City, ND. Coborn’s previously announced plans to build five new grocery stores in western North Dakota, including a Cash Wise in Watford City.

Lehigh Gas Partners LP acquired the 45-unit Express Lane Inc. of Lynn Haven, Fla., and another 24 stores in northeastern Pennsylvania from related entities Dunmore Oil Co. Inc. and JoJo Oil Co. Inc.

Supervalu has reached an agreement to sell some of its big retail banners to a group led by Cerberus Capital Management in a transaction valued at $3.3 billion.

Industry Insight:

Lucky’s Market, based in Boulder CO, plans to open a second Colorado location in the summer of 2013 as well as plans for other locations throughout the Midwest.

Kroger signed a lease for 20,437 sq. ft. at Champaign Town Center in Champaign, Ill., to open a Ruler Foods discount grocery store in March 2013.

Winn-Dixie will be closing three of its five stores in the Albany GA area on or before March 5, a spokeswoman for the chain said.


Real Estate:

Murphy Oil Corp.’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Murphy Oil USA Inc., has entered into an agreement with Walmart Stores Inc. to provide access to more than 200 new locations within its core market area, covering the Midwest and Southeastern U.S. The construction process is expected to span approximately three years.


Green Initiatives:

Backroom coolers are being lit with outdoor LED fixtures at DeMoulas Market Basket stores throughout New England. MaxLite LED fixtures, normally used to illuminate parking garages, are energy efficient and maintenance free.