Taking Stock

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‘Round The Trade

Former Microsoft COO Kevin Turner has joined AB Acquisitions LLC, parent company of Albertsons, as the vice chairman of its board of managers and senior advisor to CEO Bob Miller. Turner began his career at Wal-Mart in 1985 as a cashier and rose to become president of the company’s Sam’s Club unit in 2002…some color about Supervalu’s recently completed first quarter. With the company’s renewed focus on wholesale operations, sales grew 12.4 percent in that segment, primarily due to new customer sales. SVU’s corporate retail unit felt the most pain with a $4 million operating loss and plunging ID revenue. And you might be wondering why SVU initiated the unusual action of 1-for-7 reverse stock split. According to company, the move was designed to enhance the appeal of its shares to the financial community. Supervalu, like many other companies in the retail/wholesale sector, has experienced flat to declining stock prices over the past six months, which has been further exacerbated by the prospective Amazon-Whole Foods deal. The reverse stock split, which became effective on August 1, will reduce the number of authorized shares to 57.1 million while the number of issued and outstanding shares will be reduced from 268.5 million to 38.4 million. In his analysis, of his company’s Q1 performance, chief executive Mark Gross noted: “The results generated this quarter by our wholesale business were outstanding and demonstrate our ability to deliver on our strategy and commitment toward growing this segment. Additionally, we’re thrilled that we closed on the acquisition of Unified Grocers shortly after the end of our first quarter, and we’re now working together as one team to drive the business and integration efforts forward. We’ll begin reporting results in our second fiscal quarter that include the Unified business.”…and kudos to our buddy Anthony Hucker, former president of Giant Food, who was officially named CEO and president of Southeastern Foods (Winn-Dixie/Bi-Lo). Hucker, who joined the Jacksonville, FL merchant in March 2016 as chief operating officer, was named interim CEO on July 1 following the resignation of Ian McLeod, who left to become head honcho at Dairy Farm in Singapore. We wish Senor Hucker good tidings in his new gig…Hanover, NJ, the central New Jersey berg located approximately 30 miles from the Big Apple, experienced its first Wegmans opening on July 23, and what an opening it was. According to my sources, more than 2,400 customers visited the store the first day and opening day volume exceeded $600,000. With the buzz surrounding the opening coupled with Wegmans’ typical superior level of execution, we’re told first week sales surpassed the $3 million mark. And although it would not publicly comment on its role in helping provide relief to public safety officials and first responders after the tragic events of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, the following Facebook post about Wegmans penned by an unnamed responder from Metro Richmond fire department speaks volumes: “What transpired over the next 24 hours, as I found myself tasked with the greatest logistical challenge I’ve had yet, was nothing short of amazing. Store managers dedicated themselves and other staff to cooking for us. They fired up all their ovens, called in extra bakers and even emptied their freezers to cook boxed pizza for us when they ran out of dough. The night manager stayed till 1 a.m. The opening manager had carts lined up for us with breakfast, sorted by delivery location. The store practically refused to take a payment until we told them we wouldn’t leave until they did. More than 1,000 police officers and National Guard members were fed thanks to the donated food. It culminated in 500 Virginia State Police troopers walking into their location, bereft with grief, yet so thankful to see a 20-foot long counter lined with breakfast on Sunday morning. No matter what evil events take place in the world, there will always be acts of service and kindness that rise up and triumph over it,” the post read. Wow!… and while I try to be as apolitical as I can in this monthly column (there are plenty of other industry issues to address), I couldn’t help note and commend the CEOs who resigned from President Donald Trump’s Manufacturing Council and Strategic and Policy Forum earlier this month. In an obvious attempt to “save face,” the president disbanded those panels before even more members could bail. However, give those seven chief executives (including Campbell’s Denise Morrison; J&J’s Alex Gorsky; and 3M’s Inga Thulin) a lot of credit for standing up to the commander-in-chief, who seemed to give moral equivalency to both the hate groups and those attempting to protest their actions. “Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville,” Morrison declared. “I believe the president should have been – and still needs to be – unambiguous on that point.” As the son of two Holocaust survivors, Trump’s verbal diatribes, his lack of focused leadership and his personal set of values disturb and sicken me. Wanna make America great again? Find a way to get this dangerous rank amateur out of office.