Two months after Supervalu announced it would close or sell its Farm Fresh corporate store retail unit, the company said it would shift merchandising and administrative responsibility for its Retail-East operation (51 Shoppers Food & Pharmacy supermarkets in Baltimore-Washington and 22 former Food Lions that trade as Shop ‘n Save stores in Western Maryland, Central Pennsylvania and West Virginia) into its Retail-West division (Cub Foods and Hornbacher’s) based in Stillwater, MN, which also serves as Cub’s headquarters.
And just before presstime, Supervalu filed a proxy/prospectus seeking shareholder approval to create a new organization, a holding company that would separate the organization into two pieces – retail and wholesale, leading some analysts to believe that is the vehicle that SVU will look to use to sell all of its corporate retail units with the possible exception of Cub. More commentary about this can be found in “Taking Stock” on page 53.
The Shoppers move becomes effective on July 23 and affects about 40 associates including much admired division president Bob Gleeson, who’s been with Shoppers for 34 years and has served as top man at the discount merchant since 2013.
A Supervalu spokesman said all Shoppers stores will stay open and that personnel charged with operational responsibility will remain with the company. Jeff Bleichner, who has been with Shoppers for more than 35 years and currently serves as VP-operations, will oversee Shoppers once the restructuring has been completed. No decision at this time has been made as to whether the company’s regional headquarters in Bowie, MD will stay open. The spokesman did say that a regional merchandising coordinator will remain based at Shoppers and serve as a liaison between Bowie and Stillwater.