NEW YORK — Supervalu is planning a one-week sales event with a major supplier at 3,400 stores in the coming months, Craig Herkert, president and chief executive officer of the Minneapolis-based company, said here Wednesday at the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch Consumer Conference.
“We've never done anything in our history in 3,400 stores, ever,” he said. “But if we can build some credibility with that [promotion], we will get vendors to say, ‘I get you.’ Don't forget, we still do $40 billion a year, so there's still real business to be had with us, but we have to show and prove we can do what we say.”
Herkert did not name the supplier it is working with on the promotion.
He made his remarks about the upcoming promotion in response to a question on why CPG companies should work with Supervalu when it is in the process of rationalizing its shelf offerings. Answering the question directly, Herkert said, “The vendors see this as a win-win. You can either have too many SKUs at a company that gets smaller year on year and eventually goes away or you can have your better SKUs at a company that's growing. I want to be the latter, not the former. I want to be the company that's growing by being more relevant to more consumers, and vendors get that idea, and they like it.”
Not all vendors are happy with the rationalization process, Herkert added, “but in the end, if we do this right, I think we'll actually sell more of the vendors' products because we will be in stock on the right items at the right time.”