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“I’m extremely disappointed that Tom Lenkevich is leaving as COO. He has tremendous ability and having been a licensee at one point, he knows the direction that Save-A-Lot has been heading in.”
Licensee: Growth Strategy Flawed
The same licensee opined that Save-A-Lot’s growth strategy — Herkert made Save-A-Lot store expansion a central part of his plans for Supervalu, saying he aimed to double Save-A-Lot’s store base by 2015 — attracted some retailers who were lured more by incentives than an understanding of the limited-assortment concept.
Financial analysts have said that selling Save-A-Lot could be central to Supervalu’s survival, although declining financial results could prevent the company from getting the price it might want.
Gipson said a sale of the retailer “could be an opportunity, but it could also be something that’s negative. I think the water will be muddier before it gets clearer.”
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He said he felt that a member-owned cooperative would be the “most advantageous” ownership structure for Save-A-Lot, but acknowledged he did not know of any effort to effect one, which would require a heavy financial outlay for members. But any new owner, Gipson said, would have the same challenge.
“I think if someone could get the cost structure in line, the Save-A-Lot model has an opportunity to be revived,” he said.
“I have complete faith in the Save-A-Lot program as a whole,” the other licensee added. “I think Save-A-Lot will survive all this. There is a lot of confidence in the concept, but the confidence in the leadership is questionable.”
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