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Supervalu Talks Private Label With Shareholders

July 17, 2012
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At its annual meeting with shareholders Tuesday in St. Louis, Supervalu CEO Craig Herkert told the audience that the past two years had “not been easy years for Supervalu. They did not meet our own or shareholders’ expectations.”

But the outcry from shareholders after the company reported weak earnings and said it would begin a review of strategic options that could include a sale did not happen. One disgruntled shareholder said he planned to bring a class-action lawsuit against the company and demanded that Herkert pledge to reduce his annual pay to $1 until the company turned around.

Herkert declined.

In his presentation, Herkert played up Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu’s private label programs and expansion of its Essential Everyday line as positive moves that shareholders could be proud of.

“Our research shows that 94 percent of our shoppers have tried and are buying our private label,” he said. “By the end of this [fiscal] year, we’ll have 2,700 Essential Everyday items in over 100 categories.”

Herkert made sure to single out the company’s value and premium private label lines, as well.

“Our Shoppers Value line continues to be a driver in the value tier,” he said. “In addition, for our consumers who are looking for natural and organic alternatives, we continue to expand our Wild Harvest brand.”

In earlier remarks, Herkert again stressed that Supervalu is a profitable company, and that the review of strategic options was not leading to an imminent sale.

“There is no guarantee a review at this time will result in any transaction or change in the overall structure of Supervalu,” he said.

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