Supervalu to Pursue Aggressive Remodeling in Several Markets

NEW YORK - Supervalu said here yesterday it plans to maintain an aggressive pace of store remodeling in fiscal 2008 while sticking to its commitment to limit debt repayment to $400 million a year. "If we can generate additional cash, we will probably try to get more remodels done more quickly rather than paying down more debt, because the upside is better than we thought," Jeff Noddle, chairman and chief executive officer of the Minneapolis-based distributor, told an analysts conference here.

NEW YORK - Supervalu said here yesterday it plans to maintain an aggressive pace of store remodeling in fiscal 2008 while sticking to its commitment to limit debt repayment to $400 million a year. "If we can generate additional cash, we will probably try to get more remodels done more quickly rather than paying down more debt, because the upside is better than we thought," Jeff Noddle, chairman and chief executive officer of the Minneapolis-based distributor, told an analysts conference here. Noddle declined to pinpoint how much Supervalu will spend on remodels next year -- after committing to spending $1 billion this year -- indicating the company has not yet finalized its 2008 budget. "We plan to do a number of 'easy wins' in a market first and then move on to other markets," he said. "Initially our priorities were Southern California and Shaw's [in New England], but as we've gotten deeper into it, we've been able to pick off the best opportunities in all markets and remodel those first, then move on to the next wave. The Intermountain region has a lot of stores that haven't been touched in a while, but we plan to do other markets first and then move on to that area." Elliot Zwiebach