Personnel Updates:

Associated Grocers of New England has hired Joe Finnigan as Retail Pricing Manager.

The Fresh Market has named Jeffrey Ackerman, executive vice president/CFO at Sealy Corp., to be its new Exec VP and CFO.

The Kroger Co. announced that Scott M. Henderson, the company’s vice president and treasurer, has been named Vice President of Pension Investment and Strategy, and Todd A. Foley, assistant corporate controller, has been named Vice President and Treasurer. Also, John Hackett, a 50-year veteran of The Kroger Co., has announced his retirement and the retirement of Quintin Frey, President of its Turkey Hill Dairy.

The National Grocers Association (NGA) announced the appointment of Brian P. Lynch as Vice President, Industry Relations. Prior to joining NGA, he served as Senior Director, Business & Industry Development for the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).

The Pantry, Inc. announced that Boris Zelmanovich is joining the executive leadership team as Senior VP and Chief Merchandising Officer.

Safeway named Barry Libenson Senior VP and CIO, succeeding David Ching. As CIO, Mr. Libenson will oversee Safeway’s extensive information technology business functions, and will assume the responsibilities July 1.

Susser Holdings Inc. announced that Sid Keswani has joined Stripes LLC as senior vice president of store operations. He comes to the convenience store retailer with more than 18 years of retail operations experience with Target Corp., most recently as senior vice president for the Southeast region of the United States. In addition, Richard Sebastian, a 17-year veteran of Stripes, has taken on the role of senior vice president of facilities.

Topco Associates said that Paul Matthews has joined the company as Exec VP and chief supply chain officer, reporting to Randy Skoda, president and chief executive officer.

Unified Grocers announced that Bob Garibaldi, general manager- sales for Northern California, has been promoted to the role of VP- Sales for Northern California and International.


Financial Focus:

Spartan Stores reported fiscal 2013 sales of $2.6 billion.


Industry Insight:

Green Zebra Grocery – a new supermarket concept developed by former New Seasons Market CEO Lisa Sedlar – has plans to open locations in the Kenton, Woodstock and Richmond/Mount Tabor neighborhoods of Portland. The first location is scheduled to open in September and the other two in mid-2014.  As planned, the small-format stores would focus on fresh, local, natural and healthful food as well as some grocery essentials. The stores will also include a butcher counter and a selection of grab-and-go options.


Mergers and Acquisitions:

Bi-Lo Holdings agreed to acquire the Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s supermarket chains from Delhaize for $265 million in cash. Bi-Lo Holdings, parent of the BI-LO and Winn-Dixie grocery store chains, will acquire 72 Sweetbay stores and leases for 10 prior Sweetbay locations, as well as 72 Harveys stores and 11 Reid’s stores, totaling 165 retail locations throughout the southeastern U.S. The transaction is anticipated to close in the fourth quarter.

GPM Investments LLC, operator of the Fas Mart and Shore Stop convenience store chains, inked a deal to acquire VPS Convenience Store Group’s Southeast division. The agreement gives GPM 263 company-operated c-stores and 33 dealer sites. Terms of the private transaction were not disclosed. Wilmington, N.C.-based VPS is an affiliated portfolio company of Sun Capital Partners Inc.

Tops Friendly Markets it has acquired four Big M stores in upstate New York. Each of the four stores will be remodeled and will transition to the Tops banner by late June. The stores will remain open during remodeling.


Real Estate:

Trader Joe’s signed a lease to open a location in Palm Beach Gardens, FL next year. Also the company will open a 14,000-sq. ft. store in Boulder, CO as early as late fall.

Harris Teeter Express in Charlotte, NC will close its Providence Road location June 4, as the company works to complete a two-story replacement store at the site. The new, 42,000-sq.-ft. store is set to reopen in November.

Roundy’s Supermarkets, Inc. is looking for new sites for possible stores at 15 openings throughout the Chicagoland area of IL during the coming 18 months, with representation by Witherell Real Estate.


Green Initiatives:

Kroger installed a clean energy production system that will convert food that can’t be sold or donated into clean energy to power one of its distribution centers. More than 55,000 tons of organic food waste will be turned into renewable energy each year using an anaerobic conversion system at the grocer’s distribution facility for its Ralphs/Food 4 Less stores located in Compton, CA. The 65,000-sq.-ft. center will be partially powered using the process, which will employ the equivalent of 150 tons of food waste per day and reduce truck trips by more than 500,000 miles each year.

Price Chopper has opened a three-car electric vehicle charging station at its Balltown Road store in the town of Niskayuna, N.Y.