Report: Supervalu to Remodel Stores, Lower Debt

New York City, Supervalu Inc. said Thursday it will focus on remodeling its stores, offering local promotions and reducing its debt during its second year of integrating the Albertsons grocery chain into its operations, according to the Associated Press.

"I'm pleased with our success in year one," said Supervalu CEO Jeff Noddle in a Webcast of the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference in New York. "This is a marathon and not a sprint."

Noddle outlined three initiatives—building programs for retail growth, implementing synergies and maintaining fiscal discipline—to work on in the "implementation phase" of its acquisition, the report said.

Noddle said the company would try to reduce its debt by $400 million and return to an investment-grade credit rating in 2008. He said the company would also work on its private-label brand. He added that the chain would remodel 80% of its stores in the next seven years through a $1.2 billion capital-spending plan.

The CEO also said he has seen some effects of the difficult consumer environment at its stores as gas prices have stayed high and shoppers struggle with a weaker housing market. He said some consumers are "trading down," or buying products that are less expensive, and fewer shoppers are coming to the store.