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UNFI: Supervalu “disappointing,” Albert’s to integrate conventional produce


United Natural Foods Inc. executives said even though they’ve been disappointed with the performance of Supervalu’s business since the acquisition this summer, they’d make the same decision again.

“So, it didn’t pan out the way we thought it would,” CEO Steve Spinner said, during UNFI’s second quarter earnings call held March 5. “However, I think we would have still made the same decision. The strategic value is right now. We’re committed to the process. I think it’s really some short-term pain to get the UNFI culture embedded into the Supervalu network, which we’ll do.”

Spinner said UNFI is on track with sales of Supervalu’s remaining retail business. The company expects to complete the sale of five Shop ‘n Save to Giant Food LLC early in 2019, and is “well down the path” on selling Shopper’s Food Warehouse.

“I’m confident we’ll get that done in the coming months,” he said, during the call. “And we continue to evaluate alternatives for Cub, which quite frankly is a great retail banner and has attracted interest. We will be thoughtful and careful as we determine the next steps.”


Albert’s integrates conventional  

During UNFI’s Q1 conference call in December, the company said it planned to merge the company’s Albert’s Organics business with Supervalu’s produce category under a “single head of house.”

Spinner said on March 5 the integration now may include conventional produce sold at Albert’s, under the new name Albert’s Fresh Produce.

“At legacy UNFI we’ve talked about adding conventional produce to further enable a truly built-out fresh offering to our Albert’s business unit,” Spinner said, during the call. “With over $1.5 billion in annual produce sales we are positioned as a national retail focused, fresh distributor able to compete in most markets with the widest range of products available.”

“Our customers want and need to consolidate suppliers in order to reduce costs in their supply chain,” Spinner said.

UNFI reported a net sales increase of 16.1% to 6.15 billion in the second quarter of 2019, including $3.47 billion from Supervalu. Legacy UNFI sales increased 5.8%. Read the full financial release here.



Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.