RICHMOND, Va. -- Richfood Holdings here said last week it has named Ronald E. Dennis president of Farm Fresh, pending completion of its acquisition of the Norfolk, Va.-based retail chain.
Dennis resigned in late August as president of Kash n' Karry Food Stores, Tampa, Fla., a wholly owned subsidiary of Food Lion, Salisbury, N.C.
Richfood's acquisition of Farm Fresh is scheduled for completion early in 1998. Until then, the company said, Dennis will work for Richfood and focus on the transition at Farm Fresh, including organization and planning issues for the 47-unit chain.
In related news, Farm Fresh reported financial results last week for the third quarter and 36 weeks ended Sept. 6, which showed sales down and operating cash flow up.
Dennis, 53, will succeed Ronald E. Johnson, 48, who has already been named chief operating officer of Jitney-Jungle Stores of America, Jackson, Miss., when the sale of Farm Fresh is completed. Johnson's titles at Farm Fresh are president and chief executive officer.
Prior to his eight-month stint at Kash n' Karry, Dennis spent 20 years with Albertson's, Boise, Idaho, including the last five years as vice president of the Florida division. Dennis will report to John E. Stokely, president and chief executive officer of Richfood, who said, "Ron brings a long string of accomplishments to his new responsibilities at Richfood and his future position at Farm Fresh. He is a seasoned professional with a proven track record [who] knows how to drive sales and profits."
Farm Fresh said sales fell 11.3% to $160.2 million for the quarter and 10.4% to $483.7 million for the 36-week period. Same-store sales declined 6.7% for the quarter and 8% for the year to date, which the company attributed to the effect of 19 competitive openings over the last 12 months.
Operating cash flow rose to $10.2 million for the quarter, compared with $9.4 million a year ago, and to $29.5 million for the 36 weeks, compared with $29.1 million a year ago.
Farm Fresh said it had a net loss of $4.5 million for the quarter and $10.2 million for the 36 weeks, compared with losses of $3.7 million and $8.8 million, respectively, for the same periods a year ago.
It said improved promotional pricing practices and an improved sales mix boosted gross profit as a percentage of sales to 24%, for this year's third quarter and 36 week period, compared with 22.8% and 23.2% respectively for the same periods last year
"We are pleased that we continue to achieve budgeted cash flows despite the continued competitive pressures," Johnson said.
The agreement in principle with Richfood involves substantially all the operating assets of Farm Fresh, plus assumption of substantially all operating liabilities. That agreement, which has already been approved by an informal committee of holders of a substantial majority of Farm Fresh's senior notes, is subject to negotiation and execution of a definitive agreement.