Shaw's Supermarkets is the #3 grocery bagger in New England, behind Stop & Shop and Hannaford Bros. The company operates about 160 stores (with a heavy presence in the Boston area) under the Shaw's and Star Markets banners in five New England states. Most Shaw's stores feature Wild Harvest departments, which offer organic, preservative-free foods. About 90 locations house in-store pharmacies. The company also markets products under its own brands, such as Equaline, Happy Tails, HomeLife, and Shaw's. Shaw's Supermarkets, which traces its roots to 1860, is owned by New Albertson's Inc., an entity controlled by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.
Shaw's Supermarkets was one of five grocery chains sold by former parent SUPERVALU in March 2013 for an aggregate price of $3.3 billion to Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm specializing in distressed securities and assets. The sale followed the elimination of some 700 store-level positions at Shaw's and Star market stores in late 2012. SUPERVALU had acquired Shaw's in 2006.
Massachusetts is the regional grocery chain's largest market, home to about half of its stores. New Hampshire is next with more than 25 locations.
Key markets for Shaw's and Star Markets are Boston, where the grocer has a retail market share of nearly 17%, and Portland, Maine, where it competes head-to-head with Hannaford Bros. Under the leadership of Shane Sampson, who was named president of Shaw's in March 2013 following the sale of the store to New Albertson's Inc., Shaw's trimmed its store count in New Hampshire in fall 2013, with the closing of about half a dozen stores there. Meanwhile, the grocery chain is investing in its stores in the Boston area, where in late 2013 it reopened four supermarkets after revamps that showcase new layouts and design emphasizing fresh-foods and improved customer service. Also, a new Star Market grocery store is set to anchor the redevelopment of the former Boston Garden arena, fulfilling the company's effort to locate a store in northwest Boston.
With the New England economy still weak following the deep recession, Shaw's is looking to boost sales by targeting budget shoppers. The grocer is driving promotional programs, such as its 4:15 Meal Deals (dinner for four for less than $15) and Refund Rewards (free groceries with the purchase of gift cards). SUPERVALU is also helping the grocer to buoy sales by touting private-label goods and closing underperforming locations. Still, the company appears to be trailing rival Stop & Shop in appealing to value shoppers.
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