Personnel Updates:

Ahold USA has named Nick Bertram Senior VP of Store Strategy and Execution.

Central Grocers said that its President and CEO, Jim Denges, would retire next month after 35 years with the company.

CHS named Timothy Skidmore Chief Financial Officer.

Jewel-Osco said Jim Rice was appointed VP of Operations. Mr. Rice will lead the operations team in supporting the company’s new marketing and merchandising strategies. Before Jewel-Osco, he worked for Albertsons for over 35 years, leaving the company as President of the Southwest division.

Fairway Group Holdings Corp. said Dan Myers was hired as Senior VP production and distribution center, and will be responsible for all aspects of operations at Fairway’s new approximately 240,000-square-foot production center, which will serve as a central commissary, bakery and produce distribution site with the capacity to support approximately 30 stores. Also, Dennis Tortora joined Fairway as Controller, production and distribution center, and will be responsible for the facility’s financial and operating controls and systems. He most recently was chief financial officer and treasurer of Balance Bar.

McCaffrey’s Supermarkets it has hired Fred Brohm as COO.

Spartan Stores said that Alan Hartline, who has been serving as Executive Vice President Merchandising and Marketing, has left the company. Larry Pierce, currently Vice President Center Store Merchandising, will lead the merchandising and marketing teams on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is named.

SUPERVALU Inc. announced it has named Bruce Besanko as the company’s Exec VP and CFO, effective August 7, 2013. Besanko follows current Exec VP CFO Sherry Smith, who has held the role since 2010. Smith will continue in her role as CFO until August 6 and her last day with the company will be August 9. Also, Bill Parker President of Farm Fresh left the company. Chad Ferguson, VP of marketing and consumer insights for Supervalu, takes over Farm Fresh as interim President. Supervalu also said that it has hired two former Kroger executives – John Jefferson to be its new VP of produce merchandising and Tom Sargent to be its new VP of meat merchandising.

Wegmans Food Markets has promoted Carl Salamone, the company’s VP of Seafood merchandising, to be VP of Seafood Sustainability, a new position.


Financial Focus:

Mi Pueblo Food Centers has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.


Industry Insight:

Belle Foods, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection July 1st, gained court approval August 8th to sell seven grocery stores, including two Food Worlds in Decatur and Mobile. The company, which is selling 44 stores after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, is expected to sell the Decatur store to Hometown Market of Morgan County for $100,000 and the Mobile store to Autry Greer & Sons for $455,000.

Publix recently signed a lease for an approximately 16,000 sq. ft. office in Charlotte, NC that will serve as the company’s division headquarters in the area, overseeing stores in North and South Carolina.

Wisted’s Supermarkets converted all three of its stores to the Piggly Wiggly banner, store owner Harold Wisted said.


Mergers and Acquisitions:

Lehigh Gas Partners LP has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Rogers Petroleum Inc. and affiliates to purchase 14 gas stations, assume the leases for three stations and purchase certain other assets and equipment at the 17 sites for total consideration of $21.1 million. Also, Lehigh Gas Partners LP agreed to purchase the assets of Rocky Top Markets LLC and Rocky Top Properties LLC. Under the terms of the agreement, Lehigh will purchase 30 gas stations; assume or enter into leases for four others; assume seven third-party supply contracts; and purchase certain equipment and other assets at the sites for a total of $36.9 million.

Spartan Stores will acquire Nash Finch Co. in a stock deal both companies valued at about $1.3 billion that will “help expand Spartan’s distribution presence beyond Michigan, Indiana and Ohio to 37 states and the District of Columbia. It also makes Spartan the largest food distributor to U.S. military commissaries and exchanges at home and abroad.” The announcement notes that “together, Spartan Stores and Nash Finch will have 22 distribution centers covering 37 states (and) 177 retail stores.”


Real Estate:

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage has opened a store in Beaverton OR offering organic products, vitamin supplements and an in-store nutrition coach. The store aims to entice health-conscious shoppers with a pledge never to sell products with high-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or artificial ingredients. Natural Grocers has three more stores planned in the state, according to its website.

Shaw’s Supermarkets will be closing six of its stores in New Hampshire no later than September 2nd, 2013.


Green Initiatives:

H.E. Butt Grocery has debuted an environmentally friendly store in Austin, Texas, that has Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The store features shaded refrigerator doors, electronically controlled LED lighting, low-flow toilets and faucets, solar panels and bicycle parking. The innovative store also houses the chain’s first in-store restaurant.