Eden Prairie-based Supervalu has installed a new CEO at Save-A-Lot, the discount grocery chain that Supervalu is looking to spin off into a separate publicly traded company.
Retail industry veteran Eric Claus, currently CEO of Red Apple Stores in Canada, will start as Save-A-Lot CEO on Jan. 4. Ritchie Casteel, Save-A-Lot’s current president and CEO, will remain as president, reporting to Claus.
Save-A-Lot, based in suburban St. Louis, is a national chain of more than 1,300 hard discount stores that relies heavily on private-label goods and competes with Aldi, Wal-Mart and dollar stores. It accounts for about 25 percent of Supervalu’s roughly $18 billion in revenue. There’s only one Save-A-Lot in Minnesota, in St. Cloud.
Save-A-Lot, unlike much of the traditional grocery industry, is growing at a decent clip and analysts see it as Supervalu’s crown jewel. In July, Supervalu announced that it aims to spin off Save-A-Lot. Last month, Reuters reported that Supervalu would also consider selling Save-A-Lot, citing unnamed sources.
Claus, 59, has spent more than 30 years in the retail and grocery businesses, including overseeing U.S. operations for supermarket chain A&P from 2005 to 2009, when he was reportedly ousted. The troubled A&P made its first bankruptcy filing in 2010.
Since 2013, Claus has led Red Apple, a chain of 156 discount retail and grocery stores that primarily serves small Canadian cities.
Casteel, 65, will continue to oversee day-to-day store operations at Save-A-Lot and work closely with Claus on market development and store growth plans, Supervalu said in a press statement. Casteel has been president and CEO of Save-A-Lot since March 2013.