A number of retailers found 1995 to be a year of transition.
Some grappled with debt while others filed for Chapter 11 protection. Management changes went hand in hand with some of the events. And some bounced back after successfully dealing with past years' challenges. The year wasn't far advanced before Grand Union Co., Wayne, N.J., filed a prenegotiated Chapter 11 plan; that came in January.
The chain emerged from bankruptcy protection in June with a lower debt obligation, then initiated a voluntary resignation incentive program and closed three distribution centers to lower costs further.
Kash n' Karry Food Stores, Tampa, Fla., filed a reorganization plan in January after seeking Chapter 11 protection in November 1994. According to the plan, Kash n' Karry would take steps to reduce debt and interest expenses. The company entered into an agreement to supply Gooding's Supermarkets, Altamonte Springs, Fla. Ron Johnson, Kash n' Karry's chairman and chief executive officer at the time, said the move could generate annual revenues of $75 million.
Foodarama Supermarkets, Freehold, N.J., managed to refinance after a strike two years ago forced it to default on loan agreements. Now, the third-largest member of the Elizabeth, N.J.-based Wakefern Food Corp. cooperative is back on solid footing with a five-year plan. The company expects to achieve 2% to 3% increases in same-store sales and to build six new stores throughout the five-year period.
After emerging from Chapter 11 protection late last year, Harvest Foods, Little Rock, Ark., is expecting its first positive sales figures since 1990. The company increased its capital expenditure budget to $20 million this year after spending only $3 million for the past several years.
The year was particularly rocky for Delchamps, Mobile, Ala. For the first time in the chain's 74-year history, the company was placed in the hands of two nonfamily members in the hopes that they could reverse the four quarters of same-store sales declines the chain had experienced under the leadership of Randy Delchamps, the company's chairman, president and CEO.
Randy Delchamps resigned his posts in April and the company brought in former executives of Pueblo Xtra International, Pompano Beach, Fla. Richard La Trace, who assumed the title of president, and Richard Morrow, who assumed the titles of chairman and CEO, made it their mission to improve sales and earnings.
Delchamps reported its first increase in same-store sales in July after four consecutive quarters of declines. Megafoods Stores, Mesa, Ariz., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 1994, filed a reorganization plan in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix Dec. 15, 1994.
Greg Anderson, chairman, said the company has hired a new "top-notch management team" and "we feel good about the progress we've made."
The company selected William J. White as its new president and CEO in the
wake of the resignation of its founder, Dean Miller, in February. White has been in executive positions with Kessel Food Markets, Flint, Mich., as well as Bruno's, Birmingham, Ala., and Piggly Wiggly Southern, Vidalia, Ga.
Megafoods has gone with Certified Grocers of California, Los Angeles, as its major supplier and will buy only produce from Fleming Cos., Oklahoma City, its former primary supplier.
Despite reports by some supermarket companies that their economic situations had improved, several others found themselves financially floundering.
Victory Markets, based in Utica, N.Y., filed for Chapter 11 in September when it was unable to meet a payment obligation. Aaron Malinsky was succeeded as president and CEO by turnaround expert Clark Ogle. Another company with its share of difficulties is Harry's Farmers Market, Roswell, Ga. The company underwent a financial restructuring in 1994 but continued to experience slumping sales and high levels of perishables shrinkage.