Personnel Updates

Ahold and Delhaize announced four new members of the executive committee that will run the combined companies. Hanneke Faber will become Chief e-commerce and Innovation Officer, Marc Croonen will be Chief Sustainability, Transformation and Communications Officer, Abbe Luersman will be Chief Human Resources Officer, and Jan Ernst de Groot will be Chief Legal Officer, pending completion of the proposed merger

Albertsons Cos. named Anuj Dhanda Exec VP and CIO, effective Dec. 7th, 2015. Dhanda has been Senior VP and CIO for Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh, for the past two years. He fills a vacant position since Barry Libenson left Albertsons in March 2015.

Schnuck Markets said Mark Doiron has joined the company as its new Chief Merchant. He succeeds Steve Harper, who retired earlier this year.

Whole Foods Market appointed Don J. Clark Global VP of Purchasing for non-perishables. Clark previously worked for Target Corp.

The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) announced that on January 1, 2017, Cathy Burns will become CEO, with Bryan Silbermann’s retirement taking effect on January 31, 2017.

Kroger announced that Kate Ward, currently Manager of Finance has been promoted to Director of Investor Relations.

Supervalu said that Janel Haugarth, President of the company’s wholesale business will retire at the end of the year. Huagarth will be succeeded by Mike Stigers, current President of Supervalu’s Cub Foods division. The company also announced that Eric Claus has been named the new Chief Executive Officer of Save-A-Lot.  Effective with the start of Claus’ employment with the Company, Ritchie Casteel will serve as President of Save-A-Lot, reporting to Claus.

Industry Insight

Cub Foods, a SUPERVALU owned grocery chain, has opened a new store in central Minnesota under its new format that includes a large adjoining wine and spirits store. The new 60,000-square-foot store is open 24-hours a day with an expanded fresh department and a 12,000-square-foot liquor store.

The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea company, a leading grocery store chain since the late 1800’s, has enlisted a third party to help auction the remainder of its 55 stores.  All A & P stores and subsidiaries have been closed or sold.

Real Estate

ALDI will open four new stores in the Richmond, Va., market through next year. The new stores are in addition to the five Aldi stores currently operating in the Richmond area. ALDI is planning to open 650 U.S. stores in 2016 with a goal of about 2,000 stores operating in the US by 2018.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage will open up to 23 new stores next year, growing its store base by more than 22%, the company announced. The Colorado-based natural and organic retailer currently operates 106 stores in 18 states, and 16 of its stores were opened during fiscal 2015.

Wawa is planning to open 120 or more stores in South Florida between 2017 and 2022. Initial openings will be located in Palm Beach and Broward counties, with Miami-Dade County following in 2018.

Mergers & Acquisitions

CST Brands has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the Flash Foods convenience store network. The deal includes all 164 Flash Food locations, in addition to other fuel distribution and real estate assets, and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

Kroger announced it will purchase Roundy’s Supermarkets. Following closing, Roundy’s will continue to operate its stores as a subsidiary of Kroger and will continue to be led by key members of Roundy’s senior management team. There are no plans to close stores, and associates will have employment opportunities with both companies. Roundy’s headquarters will remain in Milwaukee.

Haggen informed U.S. Bankruptcy Court of its intention to sell all of its stores, including the 32 Northwest units it initially intended to continue operating, in order to further maximize recoveries to its estate. Haggen previously closed a number of stores and sought buyers for 95 “non-core” locations being auctioned this week. It announced separate deals with Smart & Final and Gelson’s Markets to buy 28 and six stores, respectively.

Niemann Foods will acquire six County Market groceries owned by Covington Foods, with an expected closing date on or before Jan. 7, 2016. According to Neimann, the six stores will continue operating under the County Market name and no changes are planned

Smart & Final Stores expects to get approval in the next few days to acquire 32 Haggen stores and to convert and reopen them under its Smart & Final Extra banner by mid-2016. Of the 32 units, 27 will be net new stores and the other five will be relocations for existing stores, Dave Hirz, president and CEO, said. The company also said it expects to open between six and eight additional Extra stores in 2016 for an annual growth rate of 15% to 16%, though Hirz said it will return to its normal 10% annual growth rate in 2017.

TravelCenters of America LLC has agreed to acquire out of bankruptcy the Quaker Steak & Lube automotive-themed casual dining restaurants and certain related assets for $25 million. The agreements are subject to bankruptcy court approval processes, which the companies expect to be completed in early 2016, and other conditions, including an auction process supervised by the bankruptcy court.