Wakefern posts sales of $16.6 billion

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KEASBEY, N.J. — Wakefern Food Corp. reported retail sales of $16.6 billion for the 52-week fiscal year ending September 28. That is a 0.7% increase from the prior year. Wakefern opened five new ShopRite stores and also welcomed a new banner, Manhattan-based Gourmet Garage, during the fiscal year.

“It’s a time of great change and challenge in our industry, but we’re excited for the journey ahead,” Wakefern chairman and chief executive officer Joseph Colalillo told an audience of nearly 800 people at the Hilton in East Brunswick, N.J., where the company held its annual shareholders meeting on Thursday. “With every new program we roll out, we are committed to providing the best shopping experience for our customers and creating the supermarket of the future.”

Also speaking at the event was president and chief operating officer Joe Sheridan, who said Wakefern is employing technology as it strives to meet the needs of today’s consumers. He noted that in July Wakefern opened the first stand-alone micro-fulfillment center in the United States. The facility uses robotics to assemble ShopRite from Home grocery orders, enabling the retailer to expand the reach of that service. Wakefern is also making it easier for customers to design their own custom cakes and order catering and deli items online, and ShopRite dietitians are now available to answer customer questions through online chat.

“We are embracing change because customers are embracing change — the way they shop, the way they work and the way they live,” Sheridan said. “We are pairing high tech with a human touch to provide the very best shopping experience. Today’s customers want great online shopping options, but they also want a personalized experience. Our promise is that we will deliver all of that to our customers.”

Wakefern executive vice president Chris Lane reported on the recent launch of ShopRite’s new Right Price Promise, and detailed its plans to introduce two new innovative store brands, Bowl & Basket and Paperbird, in November.

The Right Price Promise reflects a commitment to everyday low prices on the items customers purchase most frequently, he said. By moving to everyday value pricing on key items, Wakefern is assuring customers that they can count on ShopRite as their one-stop shopping destination.

ShopRite’s planned launch of Bowl & Basket and Paperbird food and household lines next month will kick off a transformation of the retailer’s own brands. The newly designed, carefully crafted store brands will offer the best assortment of high-quality foods and products at value pricing.

“With these pioneering launches we are truly elevating the ShopRite experience for each and every customer who walks through our doors,” Lane said. “We are ready to deliver to the next generation of shoppers the products and store experience that will make ShopRite their market of choice for their family meals, foods on- the-go and grocery needs.”

Wakefern shareholders re-elected to the board of directors at the meeting include: Colalillo, chairman and CEO; Larri Wolfson, Dominick J. Romano and Irv Glass, vice chairmen; Lawrence Inserra, Jr., treasurer; Jeffrey Brown and Sean McMenamin, assistant treasurers; Richard Saker, secretary, and Ned Gladstein, Nicholas Sumas, and Shawn Ravitz, Assistant Secretaries. Sheridan was also re-elected as president and COO and Lane was re-elected as executive vice president.



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