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    Wakefern Nets $12B in Retail Sales

    Growth was the topic at the co-op's annual shareholders' meeting.

    At Wakefern Food Corp.’s annual shareholders’ meeting in East Brunswick, N.J., on Oct. 28, the Keasbey, N.J.-based retail co-op reported that it had attained a record sales level of $11.8 billion in retail sales for the fiscal year ending Oct. 2, 2010, a 2.8 percent rise from the year-ago period. Wakefern additionally posted $9.6 billion in warehouse sales for the same period.

    “In spite of the state of the economy, we’ve been able to grow,” noted chairman and CEO Joseph S. Colalillo in his opening remarks at the meeting. “We’ve entered new markets while our competitors are exiting them. We’ve opened new stores while many of our competitors are closing them. And our customers are rewarding us with their loyalty in the midst of some of the stiffest competition we have seen in decades.”

    COO Dean Janeway observed that the co-op’s members had opened 14 new ShopRite stores and four new PriceRite stores in the last fiscal year. “To support this new growth and to ensure that we have the capacity to respond to all of our members and the increase of volume, we have expanded our Keasbey, N.J., perishables warehouse by 90,000 square feet and are acquiring an additional 140,000 square feet of produce warehouse space.”

    EVP Joe Sheridan spoke about the importance of engaging customers through digital technologies, social networking tools and health-and-wellness initiatives, for a more personal and interactive shopping experience.

    During the meeting, Colalillo introduced several new members to the Wakefern cooperative: Raymond Miller of Miller Farms Family Markets and Chuck Joseph of Joseph Family Markets, both of whom operate stores in Connecticut, and Ken Thompson of K. Thompson Food Corp Inc., whose Uniondale, N.Y., location is scheduled to open in spring 2011.

    Wakefern shareholders elected to the board of directors at the meeting were Colalillo as chairman; James Sumas, Larri Wolfson and Irv Glass as vice chairmen; Lawrence Inserra Jr. as treasurer; Richard Saker, Jeffrey Brown and Kenneth Capano as assistant treasurers; Dominick J. Romano as secretary; Ned Gladstein, Joel Perlmutter and Steven Ravitz as assistant secretaries; and Rocco Cingari, Lawrence Collins, Jon Greenfield, Charles Infusino, Bernard Kenny, Leonard Sitar, Richard Tully, Robert Clare and Richard McMenamin.

    Additionally, Vincent Lo Curcio III, co-owner/VP of operations of the Nutley Park ShopRite in New Jersey, was newly elected to the board. The Lo Curcio family has belonged to the co-op since the 1950s. Janeway and Sheridan were also re-elected as operating officers.

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