ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Carr Gottstein Foods Co. here said it could save as much as $500,000 in operating expenses next year from streamlining its financial and wholesale operations.
The company has hired Kurt Salmon Associates, a consultancy based in Princeton, N.J., to complete a "business process reengineering," according to Mark R. Williams, president and chief executive officer of Carr Gottstein. The announcement was made at the company's annual meeting here.
Although Williams was short on specifics, he said the consultants will "help us map out all the processes in our financial systems and wholesale systems. We're going to streamline those systems to get better numbers -- more accurate numbers more rapidly."
Carr Gottstein has nearly halved its capital expenditures budget for the current fiscal year to $14.9 million from $27.8 million last year. "We are sensitive to the fact that the leverage of the company and the move in interest rates will affect the profitability of the company, so we're focused on the pay down of debt," Williams explained.
Nevertheless, he did not rule out the possibility of future acquisitions, calling it "the best, most economic way to enter a market."
In the year ahead, Carr Gottstein intends to concentrate on growing its retail business and refining its merchandising strategy.
After seeing the success of the bulk candy department that was installed in its Juneau, Alaska store in March, Carr Gottstein has altered remodeling plans to allow for the installation of a bulk candy section into an Anchorage store that is currently undergoing expansion.
Williams promised to bring in more perishable and specialty departments in the future, saying they are the best way to maintain market share when faced with new competition from mass merchandisers, niche operators and other grocery companies.
Also at the meeting, chairman John Cairns announced the re-election of seven directors. Cairns and Williams remain on the board; Leonard Green, general partner of Leonard Green & Assoc., Los Angeles; Jonathan D. Sokoloff, partner of Leonard Green; and Gregory J. Annick, associate of Leonard Green, were also reelected. Rounding out those re-elected were E. Dean Werries, former chairman of Fleming Cos., Oklahoma City, and Donald E. Gallegos, president of King Soopers, Denver, Colo.