Farm Fresh Food & Pharmacy, the Virginia Beach, VA-based division of Supervalu, will be shifting primary merchandising responsibilities to its sister supermarket organization, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, based in Bowie, MD.
Twenty-one merchandising positions will be eliminated at Farm Fresh and those duties will be absorbed by current Shoppers’ merchandisers. The move reportedly will be effective on June 23. A Supervalu spokesman said that Farm Fresh’s current headquarters at 833 Seahawk Circle will remain open and that 40 associates involved in operations, loss prevention, IT, human resources and food safety will remain based out of that office. Additionally, 19 people will continue to work at the division’s central floral warehouse, also based in Virginia Beach. He added that Shoppers will be adding some new jobs to support its expanded organization.
As a part of this realignment, former Farm Fresh president Micky Nye now becomes regional VP of operations for an enlarged Shoppers division. She will report to Bob Gleeson, who will remain president of Shoppers.
The expanded Shoppers structure will now include 51 Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores, 40 Farm Fresh Supermarkets and 22 Shop ‘n Save stores, which were acquired last year from Food Lion as a part of the government-mandated divestiture of more than 80 Ahold Delhaize owned units.
To several industry observers, the downsizing of Farm Fresh was not surprising given the fact that sales and market share have been shrinking for the last five years. Moreover, no new stores have opened during that period and the real estate pipeline for new stores and major remodeling has been negligible at Farm Fresh over the past decade.
With new CEO Mark Gross focusing on SVU’s core wholesale business, the recent sale of its Save-A-Lot discount unit to Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp., industry speculation has been strong that the company is also looking to sell its more than 220 corporate stores.