retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Larry Wahlstrom, who returned to Supervalu-owned Shaws as CEO less than a year ago when the then-CEO, Mike Witynski, departed “to pursue other interests,” announced last Friday that he is retiring, effective immediately.

In a letter to company associates, Wahlstrom said that he would be succeeded by Mike Stigers, saying that his “long and diverse history in the grocery industry makes him uniquely qualified to lead Shaw’s and to unite our great associates as we fulfill our mission of becoming a neighborhood grocer in New England.

“Mike began his grocery career in 1974 as a part-time courtesy clerk at Safeway. During the next 14 years, he took on managerial positions of increasing responsibility before joining Jons Markets, an independent retailer based in Los Angeles.  During the 1990s, he expanded his scope of experience by working for retail technology companies. He joined PW Supermarkets of San Jose, Calif., in 1999 as director of Operations. He served in executive roles in operations and merchandising and was promoted to senior vice president and chief operating officer in 2003. He subsequently became chief executive officer of the independent retailer. He comes to Shaw’s from Sterilox Food Safety, where he has been a regional vice president. Sterilox is a leading supplier of water-based food safety solutions for perishable items such as fresh produce, floral, and seafood in supermarkets.”

Walhstrom concluded, “The past year has presented a variety of challenges for Shaw’s, and they continue today as the economy is still putting pressure on consumer spending. We remain focused on the customer and have started to execute initiatives and promotions that will bring people into our stores. We are confident in Mike’s ability to lead Shaw’s and carry the momentum into the future.”
KC's View:
That future, a lot of people think, includes finding a way of getting Shaws off the books at Supervalu. There will be a lot more on this story, I suspect, as the chattering class (of which I am a proud member) starts speculating about the story behind the story.