Supervalu Names Claus CEO of Save-A-Lot
Preparing for possible spinoff of hard-discount grocery chain
MINNEAPOLIS -- Supervalu Inc. has announced that retail veteran Eric Claus has been named the new CEO of Save-A-Lot, the company’s hard-discount grocery segment.
Claus, 59, joins the company after spending more than two years as the chairman, president and CEO of Red Apple Stores Inc., a chain of value retail stores, in Canada. Claus is expected to start in his role with Save-A-Lot on or before Jan. 4, 2016.
Supervalu also announced that, effective with the start of Claus’ employment with the company, Ritchie Casteel will serve as president of Save-A-Lot, reporting to Claus, and will continue to oversee day-to-day store operations while working closely with Claus on Save-A-Lot’s market development, store growth plans and preparation for the possible spinoff of Save-A-Lot.
Claus has spent more than 30 years in the retail industry with career stops in both the United States and Canada, where he has gained deep experience in both hard discount and grocery retail. He has served as CEO of Co-Op Atlantic, president and CEO of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P), first in the Canadian division and then overseeing the U.S. operations from 2005 to 2009, and as an advisor to private-equity firms on the retail and consumable goods industry.
At Red Apple Stores Inc., Claus restructured and transformed the now 155-store value-oriented clothing, general merchandise and food chain.
Claus "has a great background in food retailing, and is a smart and charismatic leader. His strengths in and experience with the hard-discount format as well as his history leading retail companies will be important as we look to finish our fiscal year strong and as we continue to position Save-A-Lot for the future," said Supervalu president and CEO Sam Duncan.
Save-A-Lot is based in St. Louis and has approximately 9,300 employees nationwide supporting its 1,342 stores, of which 901 are operated by licensee owners (store counts as of Sept. 12, 2015). The business also operates 17 distribution centers across the country to support its existing stores and future store growth.
Supervalu announced in July 2015 that it was exploring a separation or a sale of its Save-A-Lot business, and that as part of that process it had begun preparations to allow for a possible spinoff of Save-A-Lot into a standalone public company. Supervalu is continuing preparations to separate Save-A-Lot, although at this time there can be no assurances that a separation or spinoff of Save-A-Lot will occur, or that any other changes in the company’s overall operations will happen, it said.
Minneapolis-based Supervalu is one of the largest grocery wholesalers and retailers in the United States, with annual sales of approximately $18 billion. It serves customers across the United States through a network of 3,395 stores composed of 1,854 independent stores serviced primarily by the company’s food distribution business.