Spartan Names New President

March 7, 2003
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GRAND RAPIDS — Craig C. Sturken took over as president and CEO of Spartan Stores Inc. last Monday, replacing president and CEO James B. Meyer, who announced his pending retirement last year.

Meyer is serving as transitional chairman of the company.

Sturken has more than 40 years of retail grocery and wholesale experience and served most recently as CEO of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) Midwest and Atlantic regions.

Sturken is credited with returning A&P’s 370-store, 35,000-employee Atlantic retail operation to sales growth and profitability and with the turnaround of the region’s revenues and profits.

In the Midwest region, Sturken directed the operation of 130 retail stores and 15,000 employees under the Farmer Jack, Food Emporium and Kohl’s supermarket banners. There, he developed market specific retail strategies that significantly improved sales and profit growth, as well as the company’s competitive market position, according to Spartan.

Meyer said Sturken has a thorough understanding of retail grocery and distribution operations and “great insight” in regard to Spartan’s geographic markets.

The company announced Thursday it was closing 13 of its 39 Food Towns in the greater Toledo area. The remaining stores may be sold or converted to new formats.

Spartan had announced last month it was considering alternative strategies for Food Town stores in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan because retail grocery operations in that region continue to perform below expectations.

The company saw a net loss of $57 million for the third quarter.

Meyer said at the time that Spartan’s key objectives were strengthening the company’s financial position, improving the performance of its wholesale and retail operations and reducing the company’s overall cost structure.

He said the indications were that progress is being made toward those objectives in each of Spartan’s business segments.           

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