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Save-A-Lot adding another Lidl vet

Proctor to follow McGrath to discount chain, sources say

The executive management of Save-A-Lot is adding a second veteran of Lidl, SN has learned.

Kevin Proctor, who was among the leaders of Lidl’s Ireland team sent to the U.S. in 2013 to begin establishing a stateside presence for the German retailer, is joining the Earth City, Mo.-based discounter, sources said. Proctor previously served alongside Kenneth McGrath, Lidl’s first U.S. CEO, who was named CEO of Save-A-Lot earlier this month.

Both McGrath and Proctor (left) departed Lidl in 2015 to serve top roles at Digicel, a telecom company based in Jamaica. Lidl is expected to open its first U.S. stores this summer. Proctor, whose role at Lidl US was EVP of real estate and central services, was COO at Digicel. McGrath was CEO of its Central American and Caribbean operations.

Save-A-Lot has made no official announcement of Proctor’s appointment, although sources told SN it was their understanding he would be joining the company with McGrath, whose first official day is April 21. Proctor’s page on LinkedIn now identifies him as chief investment officer of Save-A-Lot.

As previously reported, the executive changes are the first significant personnel moves at Save-A-Lot since the company was sold to the private equity form Onex late last year, and would appear to indicate the chain would lean further toward a European-style hard discount model, rolling back the SKU and brand expansion under previous CEO Eric Claus.

“I think you’re going to see Save-A-Lot turning back toward more traditional discount roots,” said Neil Stern, managing partner at McMillan Doolittle. “I think obviously the model for them is and remains trying to get closer to replicating Aldi or Lidl, that more traditional European hard discount format, as opposed to the Canadian model run by Eric Claus, which was focused on more SKUs and more fresh. The European model is more disciplined around private label and limited SKUs.”

One source told SN that the new appointments at Save-A-Lot would appear to follow the expiration of non-compete agreements for the executives. McGrath and Proctor left Lidl together for roles at Digicel. Digicel is controlled by businessman Denis O’Brien, said to be Ireland’s richest man.

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