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Supervalu transitions EVP retail operations role to former Meijer executive

BY Michael Johnsen

MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu on Thursday announced that Pete Van Helden, EVP retail operations, will be leaving the company this spring. Taking his place will be Kevin Holt.

"This was a mutually beneficial decision that comes at the right time for both Supervalu and Van Helden, as the company continues to implement its business transformation strategy and as Van Helden moves on to opportunities that will better utilize his strengths," the company stated in a release.

“Pete has been a passionate leader of our retail businesses for many years, beginning his career with Albertsons in 1978,” stated Craig Herkert, Supervalu president and CEO. “We will miss his active voice in our company and wish him all the best as he takes on new challenges outside of Supervalu.”

Van Helden’s departure leads to the appointment of Holt, 53, a former Meijer executive who has experience leading teams in similar turnaround environments. Holt will join Supervalu as EVP retail operations in late May, reporting to Herkert, and will work closely with Van Helden to ensure a smooth transition.

During Holt’s 13-year career with Meijer, he helped lead that grocer’s information technology initiatives and strategic planning. After leaving Meijer as EVP retail operations in 2007, Holt spent three years with Sears Holding Co., where he went on to become EVP and president of stores. He most recently served as president of Hudsonville Ice Cream and Kilwin’s Quality Confections in Michigan.

“Kevin is a seasoned retail executive who understands the importance of combining enterprise leverage, merchandising and passionate customer-focused execution. He has broad experience improving company performance and knows how to build strong retail teams,” Herkert said. “We believe he has the right blend of experience to help Supervalu deliver on the promise of its business transformation, which involves investing in fair prices and delivering a differentiated hyperlocal retail experience.”

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Supervalu’s board declares quarterly dividend

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 8.75 cents per share.

The dividend is payable on June 15 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on June 1. As of April 27, there were approximately 214 million shares outstanding, Supervalu said.

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Mobile media aids purchasing process for ‘extreme’ shoppers, research finds

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Smartphones and tablets are assisting "extreme" shoppers, according to new research conducted by GfK.

Known for being savvy and self-reliant, this new demographic of consumers tout smartphones and tablets to assist with value seeking, information gathering, social media access and transactions. GfK found that among consumers with a smartphone or tablet, 50% used a mobile device to compare prices while shopping, 44% looked for a coupon, 33% “liked” a retailer on Facebook and 17% bought a product using a mobile application. Additionally, these shoppers said they feel “more in control than ever before” when it comes to choosing the best products and services (9% above the average consumer), that they are shopping more efficiently (8% more than the average consumer), and that they are using new sources to “find the things that [they] need” (13% above the average consumer). What’s more, nearly 25% of mobile-enabled shoppers have used brick-and-mortar stores for “showrooming” – checking out a product in person and then purchasing it online via a smartphone.

And when it comes the age of "extreme" shoppers, young adults (ages 18 to 34 years) are the primary drivers of these mobile shopping behaviors; these consumers are more than three times as likely to report using a smartphone or tablet for shopping (34% versus 10%), compared with older counterparts ages 50 to 64 years.

GfK noted that these findings underscore the need for marketers and retailers to adapt and also presents fresh opportunities for brands to engage and win over consumers.

“Mobile and online shopping are not just confined to big-ticket items; our research shows that the mobile trend is substantially impacting food and beverage, health and beauty, and even lawn and garden," GfK SVP digital technology Rob Barrish said. Regardless of the brand, choosing the right mobile opportunities – from coupons to co-creation of new products – is essential to making digital efforts effective.”

The new mobile study is based on 1,008 interviews conducted from March 16 to 18, as part of GfK’s online omnibus, OmniWeb.

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