- The Save Mart Companies has named retail industry veteran Shane Sampson as executive chairman, the Northern California-based regional supermarket chain announced Monday.
- Sampson formerly served as chief marketing and merchandising officer (CMMO) of Albertsons, and most recently held a leadership role at Idaho-based convenience store operator Jacksons Companies.
- Sampson's appointment to lead Save Mart follows the company's disclosure last week that it has been acquired by Kingswood Capital Management, a private equity firm.
Sampson brings deep experience in the grocery retail sector to his new position at the helm of Save Mart, which is transitioning from decades of family control to operating as part of Kingswood's investment portfolio.
Prior to serving as chief marketer for Albertsons, a role he held until departing the grocery company in September 2019, Sampson was president of Albertsons' Jewel-Osco and Shaws/Star Market banners. He also held executive positions at Ahold Delhaize-owned Giant Food, Sam's Club, and cannabis supplier Medicine Man Technologies.
Although Kingswood noted in the press release detailing its acquisition of Save Mart that it is "primarily focused on investing in businesses in transition," Sampson declined to say how he plans to put his stamp on Save Mart.
"There's always changes in this industry. I don't think anything stays the same. But I feel really good about the team and where we're going," Sampson said in an interview Monday afternoon. "We've already hit the ground running. People were in here early working this morning and quite frankly, we were all out in stores all weekend … excited to take care of our customers and community."
Sampson said he planned to hold a town hall meeting with Save Mart employees on Tuesday.
Sampson added that he has prior experience working with Alex Wolf, managing partner and founder of Kingswood, dating back to when Wolf was at Albertsons investor Cerberus Capital Management and Sampson worked for that grocery company.
"Kingswood is not new to retail … and so that gives us some comfort," Sampson said. "They're a good, supportive team and understand retail [and] what we need to do to make ourselves better."
Sampson said that he believes Save Mart, which runs about 200 stores in California and Nevada under banners including Save Mart, Lucky California and FoodMaxx, stands to benefit because it is "a large regional player that can be fast and nimble and agile."
In the announcement announcing Sampson's appointment, Save Mart noted that he played a role in scaling Albertsons' private labels. That experience could prove instrumental in helping Save Mart roll out hundreds of new items yearly as part of an expansion of its private label operations.