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Claus takes helm at Save-A-Lot

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MINNEAPOLIS – Supervalu Inc. has named Eric Claus chief executive officer of its Save-A-Lot hard discount grocery chain. He is expected to start in that role on or before January 4.

Ritchie Casteel, who has been serving as president and CEO of Save-A-Lot, will continue to serve as president, reporting to Claus. Casteel 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 the preparation for the possible spin-off of the chain.

Supervalu announced in July that it was exploring a separation of its Save-A-Lot business, and that as part of that process it had begun preparations to allow for a possible spin-off of the chain into a stand-alone public company.

More recently Supervalu was reported to be considering the sale, rather than spin-off, of Save-A-Lot. Supervalu said it is continuing preparations to separate Save-A-Lot, but added that there can be no assurances that a separation or spin-off of the chain will take place.

Claus has more than 30 years of retail industry experience. He has held leadership positions in both the United States and Canada, with both hard discount and grocery retailers.

He has served as CEO for Co-Op Atlantic, president and CEO of A&P, first in the Canadian division and then overseeing the U.S. operations between 2005 and 2009. Claus has also served as an adviser to private equity firms in the retail and consumer packaged goods sectors.

Since July 2013, Claus has served as chairman, president and CEO of Red Apple Stores Inc., where he restructured and transformed the now 155-store value-oriented clothing, general merchandise and food chain.

“I’m very pleased that Eric is joining our Supervalu team to serve as CEO of Save-A-Lot,” said Supervalu president and CEO Sam Duncan. “He has a great background in food retailing, and he 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.”

Jerry Storch, the nonexecutive chairman of Supervalu’s board of directors, also endorsed Claus’ appointment.

“Eric brings tremendous experience to Save-A-Lot,” Storch said. “The Supervalu board of directors is looking forward to Eric adding his strategic and long-term planning capabilities to the company and working together on our continued exploration of a potential separation of Save-A-Lot.”

Duncan continued, “I’m also very grateful and appreciative for all the work and positive results that Ritchie has delivered in his leadership role at Save-A-Lot. When I came to Supervalu, Ritchie was one of my first appointments, and he has done a phenomenal job these past two and one-half years. He is a tremendous leader and operator, and it reflects in the performance we’ve experienced in our corporate stores and in the confidence he’s helped restore with our licensees. I look forward to Ritchie working closely with Eric to drive sales and growth at Save-A-Lot.”

Save-A-Lot, which is headquartered in St. Louis, has approximately 9,300 employees nationwide. As of September 12 the chain had 1,342 stores, of which 901 were operated by licensee owners. Save-A-Lot also operates 17 distribution centers across the country to support its existing stores and future store growth.


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