The company’s first “sales expo” for customers of its wholesale operation is expected to draw 3,000 people to RiverCentre in August.
Supervalu Inc. is consolidating its trade shows into a single exposition that is expected to attract 3,000 people to St. Paul’s RiverCentre in August.
Supervalu’s first national sales expo, dubbed Sales 4 All Seasons, will be held Aug. 12 to 14 and replace three regional events it previously held each year. The company expects independent grocery retailers, industry experts, suppliers and some employees to attend.
“This is the type of show that can help our customers set themselves apart from the competition by combining so many great resources and opportunities under one roof,” said Janel Haugarth, Supervalu’s president of independent business, in a statement. “In addition to being a big deal for our customers, we’re very proud to bring this type of event and its economic impact to the Twin Cities.”
The show is aimed at customers of Supervalu’s wholesale business, which includes more than 1,800 independent grocery stores.
In its fiscal third-quarter results announced last month, Supervalu reported a 3.7 percent drop in revenue in its wholesale grocery operations, citing the loss of large customers. Spokesman Luke Friedrich said the St. Paul show “has been in the works since this past fall” and wasn’t a reaction to that performance.
Supervalu has changed much in the past year after selling its five largest grocery chains, including Albertsons and Jewel-Osco, to concentrate on its wholesale business and its national Save-A-Lot chain. The moves cut the size of Supervalu in half.
The upcoming St. Paul trade show, while large for Supervalu, isn’t a draw for investors and Wall Street analysts, who tend to favor industrywide trade shows. “This is sort of an internal trade show for Supervalu,” said Charles Cerankosky, an analyst at Northcoast Research in Cleveland. “I don’t plan on going.”
But Supervalu said the show is a big deal for its customers.
“As one of the largest wholesalers in the U.S., we can provide our customers and potential customers with an expo and education session that they won’t get from any other wholesaler in this country,” Friedrich said. “This show is all about leveraging our national scale, our incredible network of suppliers, and the wealth of experience across our company to help our independent retail customers.”
Steve Alexander • 612-673-4553