In 2009, with Supervalu’s grocery chains such as Albertson’s, Save-A-Lot, and Shaw’s facing increasingly tougher competition from dollar stores, everything-you-need retailers Target and Walmart, and traditional supermarkets alike, the company brought in former Walmart executive Craig Herkert to lead what was hoped to be an ambitious turnaround. Yet even as Supervalu’s stores cut prices, sales continued to decrease, and Herkert was fired as CEO at the end of July 2012. His replacement, longtime member of the Supervalu board and former Canadian Tire Corp. top executive Wayne Sales, bluntly told employees “You are all familiar with our continued decline in sales, profitability and share value” in his first letter as CEO. Sales has promised to “prove the naysayers wrong” with a plan focused mainly on cutting costs in order to lower prices in stores, but undercutting giants such as Walmart and Target won’t be easy. It may even be more difficult to reverse a trend in which consumers are less likely to bother with classic grocery stores: As the Associated Press reported, whereas in 2000 two-thirds of grocery sales took place in traditional supermarkets, today the figure is down to about 50%.
- Tough Leaders for Tough Times
- Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!
- Ron Johnson, JCPenney
- Thorstein Heins, Research In Motion
- Wayne Sales, Supervalu
- John Maguire, Friendly’s
- Louis D’Ambrosio, Sears
- Donald Layton, Freddie Mac
- Karl-Erling Trogen, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB
- Patrick Donahoe, U.S. Postal Service
- ?, Best Buy