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Kroger picks up 4,000 veterans as part of one-day Honoring our Heroes hiring event

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Tuesday announced that as a result of its one-day Honoring our Heroes hiring event held Nov. 9, the company hired more than 4,000 military veterans and their family members.

"I'm so proud of our store teams for their outstanding efforts during our national hiring event in November," stated Tim Massa, Kroger's group VP human resources and labor relations. "We can all be proud of hiring 4,000 veterans and family members in one day. We are delighted to welcome them to our Kroger family."

Last month's veteran-focused hiring event performed better than Kroger's first one-day Honoring our Heroes hiring event, which was held Sept. 15, 2015 and resulted in the company hiring 2,000 military veterans and their family members.

Kroger has hired more than 35,000 veterans since 2009 as part of its commitment to active duty troops and the nation's 23 million veterans.

Through the Honoring Our Heroes program, Kroger's family of stores have donated more than $18 million since 2010 to help support USO programs, which represents the largest cumulative gift to the USO in its nearly 75-year history.
 

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Kroger chief digital officer retiring, to be succeeded by customer engagement guru

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — The chief commercial officer and chief information officer of 84.51°, a customer engagement firm and subsidiary of Kroger, will succeed Kevin Dougherty, Kroger group VP and chief digital officer following his retirement Jan. 27, the retailer announced Tuesday.

"Kevin has been an integral partner in leading both our logistics operation and, over the last several years, leading Kroger's strategic entry into the digital space," stated Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO, Kroger. "He has led Kroger's e-commerce and digital customer strategy during a period of tremendous growth and change, driving innovation and reshaping our customers' digital experience. Kevin is a proven leader and passionate advocate for our associates and our customers. We wish him, his wife Barbara, and their family all the best in retirement."

Filling that role now will be Yael Cosset, 43. Cosset joined dunnhumby in 2009 as EVP consumer markets. He was named global chief information officer in 2011 and led technology and product matters. He also served as CEO of KSS Retail, a dunnhumby company and global enterprise software provider of price modeling and optimization solutions for retailers worldwide.

In both roles, Cosset collaborated closely with executives at Kroger as well as Tesco, Macy's and Raley's among others, to deliver innovative customer insight and personalization platforms. He was named to his current role at 84.51° in 2015.

"Yael is a passionate advocate for using customer science to make a difference in the lives of our customers. His deep experience in applying technology and innovation in retail make him a perfect fit for this important role," McMullen said. "Yael is a thoughtful and collaborative leader who will empower his team to create innovative solutions that deliver a differentiating and meaningful, personalized experience to our customers."

Cosset and his wife, Judy, live with their son in Cincinnati.
 

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Supervalu completes Save-A-Lot sale

BY Brian Berk

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Supervalu completed the sale of its Save-A-Lot business to an affiliate of ONEX for $1.365 billion.

Following this closing, Supervalu is now organized into two primary business segments, Wholesale and Retail. Supervlua is one of the largest grocery wholesalers and retailers in the United States with annual sales of approximately $13 billion. It serves customers across the United States via a network of 2,012 stores comprised of 1,815 stores operated by wholesale customers serviced primarily by the company’s food distribution business and 197 traditional retail grocery stores operated under five retail banners. In addition, the company operates 22 stores under the Shop ‘N Save name in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. 

In connection with the closing of the sale, Supervalu and Save-A-Lot have also entered into a five-year professional services agreement pursuant to which Supervalu will continue providing certain back office services to Save-A-Lot.

“With the successful completion of the Save-A-Lot sale, we are well positioned for the future with a stronger balance sheet, the opportunity to more strategically invest in our business, and the ability to more keenly focus on our core business as a leading grocery wholesaler,” said Supervalu President and CEO Mark Gross. “We also look forward to continuing our relationship with Save-A-Lot as one of our important professional services customers.”

Supervalu announced that it has used $750 million of the net proceeds from the sale to prepay that portion of its outstanding term loan balance. The company intends to use the remaining net sale proceeds to further reduce debt and improve its capital structure, contribute to its pension plan, as well as to fund corporate and growth initiatives.

Barclays Capital and Greenhill & Co. acted as financial advisors to Supervalu, while Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz served as its legal advisor.

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