retail news in context, analysis with attitude

There were reports yesterday that Christian Haub, chairman of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P), had given an interview to a European magazine saying that Tengelmann Group, the family-controlled company that owns more than a third of the supermarket retailer, was considering a sale of A&P as a way of maximizing its own profitability.

But before the day was out, A&P was out with a statement saying that Haub’s comments were taken out of context:: “Mr. Haub is very excited about the recent partnership Tengelmann entered into with Yucaipa investing $175 million into A&P to further enhance value for the Company. He is looking forward to creating more opportunity for the Company by concentrating on the strategic optimization initiatives recently announced.

“This strategy and the current operations is the priority for Christian and the Executive Management Team and the potential sale of the business was only discussed as one of many possible longer-term alternatives which are a reality to any business.”
KC's View:
The denial seems entirely credible to me. First of all, it’s a lousy time to try to sell anything. And I suspect that they want to give CEO Eric Claus and his team more time to turn around a company that has had more than its share of issues in recent years.