SuperValu Inc. (SVU)

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F4Q2013 Results Earnings Call

April 24, 2013 10:00 AM ET


Steve Bloomquist - Investor Relations

Sam Duncan - President and CEO

Sherry Smith - Executive Vice President and CFO


John Heinbockel - Guggenheim Securities

Meredith Adler - Barclays

Edward Kelly - Credit Suisse

Ajay Jain - Cantor Fitzgerald

Mark Wiltamuth - Morgan Stanley

Tiffany Koenig - Citi

Jonathan Finny - Janny Montgomery

Chuck Cerankosky - Northcoast Research



Good morning. My name is [Brian Fidel], and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the SUPERVALU's Fourth Quarter Earnings Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers remarks there will be a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions)

Thank you. I would now like to turn the call over to your host, Mr. Steve Bloomquist. Please go ahead, sir.

Steve Bloomquist

Thank you, Brain, and good morning, everyone. I want to welcome everybody to SUPERVALU's Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2013 Earnings Conference Call. Joining me today are Sam Duncan, Chief Executive Officer and President; and Sherry Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Following prepared remarks we will open up the call for your question, so that we can accommodate as many people as possible, I would ask you limit yourself to one question with one follow-up.

The information presented and discussed today includes forward-looking statements, which are made under the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The risks and uncertainties related to such statements are detailed in our most recent 10-K filing. A replay of today's call will be available on our corporate website at

With that, let me now turn the call over to Sam.

Sam Duncan

Thanks Steve and let me welcome everyone to SUPERVALU’s fourth quarter conference call and my first as president and CEO. Last month, we successfully closed on the sale of the banners acquired in 2006 operated under the Albertsons, Jewel, Acme, Shaw’s and Star Market trade names. We wish our former banners all the best in the future and thank the employees for their dedication and efforts over the years.

Last summer, Bob Miller the CEO of Albertsons LLC asked me if I wanted to come out of retirement and help his team explore opportunity presented by SUPERVALU as it announced its intend to explore strategic alternatives. As I went through the process it became very clear to me that this company had a solid asset base and great potential. Having three distinct segments contained within the same organization provides a unique compelling business proposition.

The innovative and progressive independent retailers we service through our distribution channel are strong and faring well in a very competitive environment. Save-A-Lot represents a tremendous growth opportunity in the hard discount segment and the retail channel contains attractive regional banners with strong market presence. The opportunity to turn SUPERVALU around is now possible with a strengthened balance sheet, a rights based decentralized organization and a sharp focus on driving sales and cash.

Let me give you more thoughts on each of our segments starting with independent business. One of the things I set out to do on day one was to meet as many of our independent retailers as quickly as possible. I have seen many stores proudly operated by some talented entrepreneurs, others who I have spoken with on the phone. Our independent business team and I also took the opportunity to host a get-together at this winter’s NGA meetings along with our new Chairman Bob Miller and stayed late into the night until everyone’s thought had been heard.

I wanted to meet them and help them to get to know me better. I wanted to reassure them that they are a vitally important part of this company just as they have been for decades. I also wanted them to know that I am personally committed to their success to helping them become more profitable and to grow their business. Lastly, it was important to understand their perspective on the company and more specifically where they felt we could do a better job in meeting their needs.

To a person our independents believe in SUPERVALU and the enthusiasm that they have demonstrated towards our renewed focus on the core distribution business is truly exciting. I am especially proud that some of our largest customers have supported SUPERVALU in a very public way. Working with and supporting these retailers will be a big focus of my time. Not running the business but helping out wherever I can do and continuing to listen to what they have to say.

From a leadership perspective, I am very happy that Janel Haugarth will continue to lead our independent business and supply-chain operations. She has been a strong champion of the independent retailer and will play a critical role in supporting and driving this segment. We recently put in place our national retail advisory group, which will meet for the first time in June. This will be a platform for independents to provide feedback on the initiatives we have underway or may be thinking of launching. The group will be composed of retailers ranging in size from large to small, single store retailers up to some of our largest multi-store groups. This will be a forum dedicated to hearing from and interacting with a broad range of business people who share common concerns and objectives. Doing something like this on a national level is an exciting first for SUPERVALU, and I believe that open dialogue amongst a group like this will produce tangible results for all of us.

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