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Bloomberg: Tesco reassures U.S. customers as investment bank conducts strategic review

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — U.K. grocer Tesco is attempting to reassure shoppers that its United States-based Fresh & Easy supermarkets are not closing after announcing in December plans to exit the U.S. market, Bloomberg News reported Friday. 

Not too long after Tesco announced its possible U.S. exit, a Facebook page titled "Save Fresh and Easy" was created. "By liking this page, we ask you to help keep our doors open by bringing three friends with you and show them exactly what it is you have come to love about us," the site administrators, who noted the page was not officially sanctioned by Fresh and Easy, stated. 

As of Feb. 4, that site had 1,197 "likes."

According to the Bloomberg report, investment bank Greenhill is conducting a strategic review of Fresh & Easy for Tesco, which should be ready by April. The U.S. business hasn’t turned a profit since it was opened in 2007, the report noted.

The official word from Fresh and Easy, which Bloomberg noted went out to consumers via email, was "While we don’t know exactly what the outcome of this strategic review process will be, we want to assure you we don’t have plans to close stores and we’re confident Fresh & Easy can continue to be your favorite neighborhood market. In fact, we’re kicking off a new campaign this week so keep an ear out for our new radio spots.” 

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Supervalu names Sam Duncan president, CEO ahead of timeline

BY Michael Johnsen

MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu on Monday named Sam Duncan president and CEO. In this role he succeeds Wayne Sales, who has served as the company’s president and CEO since July 2012. The succession was first reported last month, when Supervalu announced its agreement with AB Acquisition to sell five of its retail banners as well as enter into an agreement with Symphony Investors to conduct a tender offer for up to 30% of Supervalu’s outstanding common stock. 

Both AB Acquisition and Symphony Investors are Cerberus Capital Management-led entities. 

Supervalu had previously announced that Duncan would assume the leadership role upon closing of the transaction. Sales will be Supervalu’s executive chairman and in that capacity will continue to have oversight over the completion of the transaction. At the closing of the transaction, Robert Miller, current president and CEO of Albertsons LLC, will become Supervalu’s non-executive chairman.

“The board decided to install Sam as president and chief executive officer before the completion of our previously announced transaction so he can start refining and where appropriate implement plans for the business," Sales said.  

Duncan, 61, most recently served from 2005-2011 as chairman, CEO and president of OfficeMax, the third-largest office supplies retailer in North America with more than $7 billion in revenues and more than 1,000 stores. Prior to joining OfficeMax, Duncan served as president and CEO of ShopKo Stores, a $3 billion Midwest retailer. 

As part of today’s announcement, Supervalu also reaffirmed that the closing of the previously announced sale and tender offer process is expected to occur the week of March 18.


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Save Mart pledges $400,000 to American Heart Association

BY Alaric DeArment

MODESTO, Calif. — Save Mart Supermarkets has committed to raising more than $400,000 this year to increase awareness and promote education about the risks of heart disease to women, the chain said.

Save Mart said it would raise the money in collaboration with the American Heart Association and its Go Red for Women movement.

"Heart disease is the number one killer of women in our country, with one-in-three being diagnosed each year, Save Mart president and COO Steve Junquiero said. "We, as a company and as individuals, are committed to building awareness and raising funds to help protect the heartbeat of our homes."

Save Mart will sponsor television and radio commercials and digital media featuring real-life survivors and heart-healthy recipes, Pinterest sweepstakes, pharmacy health fairs with preventive screenings, shelf tags to identify heart-healthy products, participation in the AHA’s Heart Walks and employee events.


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