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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Building new and replacement stores, coupled with adding more fuel centers and capitalizing on fresh foods and health and wellness trends, are the focal points of Spartan Stores' ongoing business strategy, executives said during the grocer's shareholders meeting here yesterday.
Discussing the company's four-year record of financial improvement, solid financial outlook, and growing retail and distribution penetration, Craig Sturken, Spartan Stores' chief executive, said: "Despite the challenging competitive and economic environment, we made significant business progress in fiscal 2007, which included the acquisition of D&W Food Centers, the acquisition of Prairiestone Pharmacies and more recently, the acquisition of G&R Felpausch Co."
Sturken said the acquisitions expanded Spartan's network of retail stores by 43 percent since the end of fiscal 2004, in tandem with a significantly expanded distribution base following the addition of the 20-store, South Bend, Ind.-based Martin's Super Markets earlier this year and another anticipated 15 more units via the former Farmer Jack stores.
"Significant growth opportunities remain ahead of us," said Mr. Sturken. "Our business strategy will remain focused on differentiating our consumer offering with an emphasis on fresh perimeter products, building select new and replacement stores, opening additional fuel centers, and capitalizing on trends in consumer health and wellness."
Spartan will continue to seek expansion opportunities for its distribution business in contiguous and existing markets, said Sturken, tipping his hat to the company's management team and store associates, which "have played a key role in the successful execution of our business plan."
At the annual meeting, shareholders re-elected Sturken as chairman and director Frederick J. Morganthall III -- president of Harris Teeter, a division of publicly traded Ruddick Corp. -- to three-year terms.
As the nation's tenth largest grocery distributor with warehouse facilities in Grand Rapids and Plymouth, Mich., Spartan Stores serves 400 independent grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. It also owns and operates 88 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, Felpausch Food Centers, and The Pharm.