After SUPERVALU’s most recent quarterly report in which it failed to reach sales or earnings goals, the company said it would look into selling all or some of its assets.  As more information comes to light, the retailer is facing a long and very challenging road in front of it before any kind of sustainable competitive positioning can be achieved. However, the question remains: will anyone be willing to purchase a struggling company in an extremely competitive industry?

In addition to its struggling store performance, SUPERVALU still sits on a mound of debt – much of which was accrued from its 2006 acquisition of Albertsons.  For these reasons, a sale of the entire company as a whole could be difficult. Rival wholesale companies are rumored to be interested in purchasing SUPERVALU’s $8 billion distribution business, while its most successful retail brand Save-A-Lot could be an enticing option for private equity firms.

According to Chain Store Guide’s Supermarket, Grocery & Convenience Store Chains Database, SUPERVALU’s yearly fiscal retail sales have declined since 2009.

In late July, SUPERVALU fired President and CEO Craig Herkert. Replacing him in both positions is Chairman Wayne C. Sales. Much has been speculated of the appointment of Sales. Is he keeping the executive chair warm for a long-term successor? Is he further prepping the company for a complete or partial sell-off? SUPERVALU is already expected to distribute its financial information to a wide range of buyers, including the aforementioned wholesale competitors and private equity firms.  Can Sales deliver in saving the supermarket giant, or are sell-offs inevitable? Based on declining performance due to lackluster competitive strategies and out-of-touch pricing initiatives, it seems the latter is more likely.

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Source: Chain Store Guide’s Supermarket, Grocery & Convenience Store Chains Database