To the editor:
sociate Editor] Glen Beres gave me the opportunity to visit with him before printing the article about Certified Grocers Midwest, I declined, in keeping with our long-standing corporate policy of no press. I have always believed strongly in letting an organization's financial results speak for its progress. It is in this connection that I am compelled to write you about misleading references about our financial results in your article on Page 4 of the Dec. 19, 1994, issue of Supermarket News ["Certified Grocers Midwest Said to Cut 5 Top Positions"].
With the help of Mr. Mel Korn of Geographic Marketing Group, and guided by a retailer task force, we began planning an aggressive marketing campaign in the fall of 1991. Our market share had fallen to a low of 10%, with the likelihood of continuing declines. Our CertiSaver effort was launched in January 1993 and has exceeded our expectations. While the greater Chicagoland retail grocery market has, for the most part, shown no growth, our 1994 volume exceeded 1993 by no less than $60 million. Since the inception of the program, wholesale volume has increased by over $80 million. Our market share through the end of 1993 increased by almost 2 percentage points and has continued to increase to where we believe it will be as high as 14% of the market by the end of 1994. In the last three years, our annual rebate percentage has increased from 3.0% to 3.3%, and we expect this high rate to continue.
Our awareness and image in the marketplace has grown, as evidenced by the Merchandising Executives Club of Chicago awarding us their 1994 "Merchandiser of the Year Award for Marketing Excellence."
Fortunately, my staff was so well counseled by Mr. Korn that it is only out of a desire to conduct the marketing effort in-house that we have discontinued our formal relationship with GMG.
It's interesting that in this era of "right-sizing," efforts aimed at maintaining efficiencies are still interpreted by the uninformed as attempts to improve poor results. Certified's actions are directed toward offering our retailers products and services at the lowest possible cost, and providing our shareholders the return on assets they deserve as investors in a significant business venture.