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    Spartan to Pump Up Fuel Centers, Private Label

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Aiming to become more profitable, convenient, and consumer-centric, Spartan Stores here plans to grow more fuel centers, expand private-label, eye opportunistic store acquisitions, add more convenience services, and generally expand its retail and distribution businesses, the company's chief executive told shareholders at the annual meeting yesterday.

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Aiming to become more profitable, convenient, and consumer-centric, Spartan Stores here plans to grow more fuel centers, expand private-label, eye opportunistic store acquisitions, add more convenience services, and generally expand its retail and distribution businesses, the company's chief executive told shareholders at the annual meeting yesterday.

    Addressing shareholders at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Craig Struken, Spartan's chairman, president and c.e.o., said Spartan's three-year financial improvement and current solid fiscal health will enable it to focus on growing its market share and position as the leading grocery distributor in Michigan, and the leading conventional supermarket operator in western and northern Michigan.

    "Our management team and associates have spent the past several years stabilizing our business and implementing many fundamental changes to our strategy and operations," said Sturken. "The results of these changes and a track record of successful business plan execution are evident in our strong and sustaining financial improvements, initiation of a cash dividend policy, and the significant improvement in our share price during the past several years."

    Despite intense market competition, Sturken said Spartan has made "significant business progress during fiscal 2006, culminating in our purchase of D&W Food Centers...and reaching a five-year high in net earnings from continuing operations for the fourth quarter and fiscal year.

    "Fiscal 2007 is off to a strong start," he added, noting the company reached a five-year high in recently released first-quarter sales results.

    "Our organization is now focused on the growth phases of our business plan to position the company for profitable and sustainable growth," said Sturken. As part of this phase, Spartan will "more fully capitalize on our consumer centric and customer convenience business strategies," he said.

    "Our growth plans include expanding our fuel centers, introducing more award-winning private-label products and brands, evaluating opportunistic retail store acquisitions, adding more convenience services, like walk-in health clinics, to select stores and expanding our retail and distribution businesses in Ohio and Indiana."

    During the meeting, M. Shan Atkins, Dr. Frank M. Gambino, and Timothy J. O'Donovan were re-elected to three-year terms expiring in 2009.

    Spartan Stores, the nation's tenth largest grocery distributor with warehouse facilities in Grand Rapids and Plymouth, Mich., supplies some 350 independent grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. It also owns and operates 68 retail supermarkets and 19 deep-discount food and drug stores in Michigan and Ohio, including Family Fare Supermarkets, Glen's Markets, D&W Fresh Markets, and The Pharm.

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