Claus Out as A&P CEO

Eric Claus, the chief executive officer who championed A&P's transformation to a multi-format operator, has left the company effective immediately, the retailer said.

MONTVALE, N.J. — Eric Claus, the chief executive officer who championed A&P's transformation to a multi-format operator, has left the company effective immediately, the retailer said today.

Chrsitian Haub, A&P's executive chairman, has assumed the role of CEO while the company searches for a replacement.

Claus' departure comes only months after Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Cos. took a larger ownership stake in A&P and gained additional seats on its board of directors, and as Pathmark, the banner A&P acquired from Yucaipa two years ago, continued to see sales and earnings slide.

A&P today reported negative same-store sales for both its legacy operations and the acquired Pathmark stores, and said income improved at the legacy operations but declined at Pathmark, contributing to a loss of $80.3 million in the second quarter, which ended Sept. 12, compared with an $18.1 million loss a year ago.

Overall quarterly sales of $2.1 billion decreased by 5.4%, and overall comparable-store sales fell by 3.8%.

Claus, a Montreal native, joined A&P in 2005 after serving as president and CEO of the retailer's former Canadian division. At A&P, he led an effort to centralize control of its various store banners, then renovate stores under distinct gourmet, fresh and discount formats. Renovated fresh stores under the A&P, Waldbaums and SuperFresh banners won industry acclaim. Transition of the acquired Pathmark stores to a "price impact" format has been less successful, complicated in part by the downturn in the economy.

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