Food Service & Agriculture, Real Estate, and Retail

Grocery chain trims stores

February 22, 2018
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Byron Center-based SpartanNash is a wholesale food distributor and runs a portfolio of grocery stores under several brands. Photo via spartannash.com

A locally based grocery store chain has cut a pair of stores from its portfolio.

Byron Center-based SpartanNash said today in its fourth-quarter and year-end 2017 earnings call it closed two stores early in the first quarter of fiscal 2018 in connection with its “store rationalization plan” enacted in 2016.

The stores were “one-off” locations that were part of the Nash portfolio prior to the merger with Spartan Stores in 2013, including Dan’s Supermarket, in Bismarck, North Dakota and Germantown Fresh Market in Germantown, Ohio.

About 65 employees were affected, and those in the Bismarck location were given the opportunity to apply for other positions in SpartanNash-owned stores nearby.

Store rationalization plan

SpartanNash President and CEO David Staples said the company is making progress toward “key strategic initiatives.”

“While the retail environment remains challenging, we are focused on capitalizing on our growth opportunities and leveraging our differentiated business model to drive sales and profitability,” he said.

Staples said in a conference call with investors this morning the company has been reviewing its underperforming stores on a case-by-case basis to determine closures as part of the store rationalization plan.

“We’re not looking to close a particular number this year, but it’s possible there will be another store or two we close,” he said. “But it’s not like we have a set plan to close five stores.”

As the Business Journal previously reported, during the fourth quarter of 2017, the company also closed one store and sold another to an existing food distribution customer.

The company ended the fourth quarter with 145 corporate-owned retail stores, compared to 157 stores in the prior-year quarter.

Following the closure of the two additional stores in the first quarter, the company now operates 143 supermarkets, primarily under the banners of Family Fare Supermarkets, D&W Fresh Market, VG’s Grocery, Dan’s Supermarket and Family Fresh Market.

Q4 and year-end sales

Net sales for the SpartanNash retail segment were $450 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $479.2 million in the prior-year quarter.

The company said the decrease in net sales was “primarily attributable” to $18 million in lower sales resulting from the closure and sale of stores, as well as a 3.2-percent decrease in comparable store sales, excluding fuel.

Consolidated net sales for all three divisions — retail, distribution and military — in fiscal 2017 increased $393.5 million, or 5.1 percent, to $8.13 billion from $7.73 billion in the prior year.

SpartanNash

SpartanNash (Nasdaq: SPTN) was formed in 2013 when the Nash Finch Company — founded in 1885 — and Spartan Stores — established in 1917 — merged.

The Fortune 350 company distributes grocery products to independent retailers, national accounts, its corporate-owned retail stores and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges.

SpartanNash serves customer locations in 47 states and the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Bahrain and Egypt.

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