Supervalu Steps Out

Grocer begins exiting fuel center business, divests 107 fuel centers in four transactions

Published in CSP Daily News

By
Linda Abu-Shalback Zid, Senior Editor

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Grocery retailerSupervalu Inc. is divesting 107 of its fuel centers, and plans to seek bidders for its remaining 27.

"Our plan is to continue operating our remaining fuel centers not involved in these transactions while we continue to seek and consider bids for the sale from other fuel companies," spokesperson Luke Friedrich told CSP Daily News.

The stores were sold in four separate transactions to Tesoro, Couche-Tard/Circle K, Holiday Stationstores and Stinker Stores--as reported in a CSP Daily News Flash yesterday--as Supervalu seeks to continue its "very steady progress" in a business transformation over the last few quarters that focuses on more core efforts.

"We have a very strategic focus right now on our core grocery business, which is operating our traditional retail stores, our hard discount stores and supplying our over 1,900 independent grocery retailers to our wholesale business," Friedrich said.

Of the 107 store sales announced yesterday:

  • Tesoro will purchase 51 Albertsons fuel centers located in California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and Idaho.
  • Alimentation Couche-Tard/Circle K will purchase 27 Jewel-Osco fuel centers, primarily in the Chicago area.
  • Holiday Stationstores will purchase 15 fuel centers -- eight from Cub Foods in Minnesota, two from Hornbacher's in North Dakota and five from Albertsons in Montana.
  • Stinker Stores Inc. will acquire 14 Albertsons fuel centers, with 11 being about 2,000 square feet in size, and three being kiosk stores.

The acquisition by the Stinker chain, known in the Boise area for its playful Polecat Pete mascot, will be the largest for the company since businessman Charley Jones and longtime Stinker employee Shawn Davis purchased it in 2002. (The two have purchased no more than two stores at a time in the past.) Coincidentally, both Albertsons and Stinker were founded by Idaho entrepreneurs Farris Lind and Joe Albertson in the 1930s.

Of the 14 stores Stinker is acquiring, 11 are in the Boise area and three are in surrounding parts of the state, Jones told CSP Daily News in an exclusive interview. "In the Treasure Valley, we already have about 30 stores, and so adding these 11 in the Boise valley just puts it right in our sweet spot to where we can more easily incorporate those into our operations. We had very few competing conflicts, as far as location."

Jones said the companies have been working on the deal, which will bring Stinker's store total to 65 throughout Idaho, for about eight months. The company plans to change store signage to the Stinker brand, and transform the unbranded gasoline to the Sinclair brand starting the second week in October and finishing the second week in November.

All four transactions will allow partnership opportunities for Supervalu to continue to offer fuel rewards programs.

The remaining 27 Supervalu stores are located in the Midwest and Eastern regions, Friedrich said, and operate under the company's FarmFresh, Shop and Save, Acme and Jewel banners.