OfficeMax COO lands at A&P; grocer’s losses widen in Q1

Montvale, N.J. After OfficeMax announced Thursday that its COO Sam Martin had departed the company, Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. said Friday that it has nabbed Martin as its new president and CEO.

Martin replaces Ron Marshall, who has left A&P after roughly five months in the job. Martin had been COO at OfficeMax since 2007.

After naming its new chief, the grocery chain also reported its first quarter results, posting a fiscal first-quarter loss of $122 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $65 million.

Sales dropped to $2.56 billion from $2.79 billion. Same-store sales decreased 7.2%.

The company said it is launching a turnaround initiative to generate revenue, lower costs and raise capital, including pursuing sale-leaseback transactions and selling noncore assets.

“The board and the company’s major shareholders, Tengelmann and Yucaipa, have been instrumental in developing what I believe is the right turnaround strategy for A&P,” said Christian Haub, executive chairman for A&P. “As we moved to the implementation and execution stage of this comprehensive operational and revenue-driven turnaround, the board determined that the company needed a leader at the helm with the skill set Sam Martin possesses.”

Current OfficeMax CEO Sam Duncan has credited Martin with a key role in the turnaround of the office supplies retailer. He is no stranger to the grocery sector as, prior to joining OfficeMax, Martin was COO for Wild Oats Markets through the company’s acquisition by Whole Foods. His experience also includes senior management roles at ShopKo Stores and Fred Meyer.

A&P operates 429 stores in eight states and the District of Columbia under the following trade names: A&P; Waldbaum's; Pathmark; Pathmark Sav-a-Center; Best Cellars; The Food Emporium; Super Foodmart; Super Fresh; and Food Basics.