- Supervalu has promoted Anne Dament to executive vice president of retail, marketing and private brands, according to a company release. Dament joined Supervalu in January after a two-year stint as senior vice president of merchandising at Target. She began her career at Supervalu and has also held positions at PetSmart, ConAgra Foods and Safeway.
- According to the company, Dament has played a key role in implementing programs to improve Supervalu’s retail division, reorganizing retail merchandising groups, and consolidating marketing efforts in the retail and wholesale divisions.
- Dament is also credited with introducing 350 new private label items and developing offerings like the recently released Quick & Easy Meals program.
Supervalu is going all-in on Dament at a critical time for the retailer/wholesaler. The company’s retail division is struggling most notably in Minnesota, where its market-leading Cub Foods stores are under assault from a host of competitors, including Hy-Vee, Aldi, Trader Joe’s and Dament’s former employer, Target.
Cub has been slow to respond to threats in the market, but under Dament the grocer has made significant strides. New private label offerings stand to boost sales, as does the ambitious new Quick & Easy Meals lineup she spearheaded, which ramps up the company’s selection of high-margin prepared foods and gets it into the meal kit game, too. Cub stores are also more focused on experiential shopping now, with recent remodels adding foodie touches like juice bars, burrito stands and make-your-own trail mix stations.
Supervalu no doubt wants more innovative ideas from Dament, and from her new position she’ll have more power to implement promising strategies. Product development should be a key component, with new meals and private label products being sold to wholesale customers in addition to livening up its own stores.
Dament will be under pressure to produce results quickly. Despite Supervalu’s recent strides growing its wholesale business, investors are not happy about the company’s stock price, which has plummeted from a high of $83.80 in April 2015 to just over $15 currently. Last month, Blackwells Capital, one of Supervalu’s top ten investors, sent a letter to company management saying it was frustrated by the poor performance and “the lack of clear steps Supervalu’s leadership has demonstrated.”
Dament offers Supervalu a good shot at making continued improvements. She started with the company as a buyer more than twenty years ago and has filled various positions on both the retail and manufacturing sides, including a ten-year stint with Safeway. Dament’s time at Target ended after less than two years, and may have reflected frustration with the retailer prioritizing other categories over grocery.