Nash-Finch knows what's in store for food retailers. One of the largest US wholesale grocery distributors, the company supplies food and general merchandise to about 1,700 retail grocery stores in some 36 states. It operates 14 distribution centers located in the Midwest, the Great Lakes region, and the Southeast. The company is also one of the leading suppliers to the US armed forces, distributing goods to approximately 480 military commissaries and exchanges in both the US and abroad. In addition to its food distribution businesses, Nash-Finch operates more than 50 of its own supermarkets under such banners as Avanza, Econofoods, Family Thrift Center, and Sun Mart Foods.
Nash-Finch serves customers in 36 US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Europe, the Azores, and Egypt. The company's military business segment rings up about 17% of its sales overseas.
Nash-Finch operates three business segments, which include military (49% of sales), food distribution (41% of sales), and retail (10% of sales). In 2011 the company's overall sales declined by around 4% compared to the previous year. The company's military segment is made up of seven distribution centers that distributes mainly to military commissaries and exchanges. The distribution centers are located near the largest concentration of military bases and close to Atlantic ports to distribute grocery products overseas. The company's 10 largest manufacturer customers accounted for some 43% of the military segment's sales in 2011.
Nash-Finch's food distribution segment sells and distributes an array of nationally branded and private label grocery and perishable food products from around 14 distribution centers. It distributes to about 1,500 independent retailers primarily in the Midwest and Southeast.
Its retail segment operates some 46 company-owned stores located primarily in the Upper Midwest. The company's retail sales decreased by around 9% in 2011 compared to 2010. The reason was due in part to the sale and closing of seven retail stores and same-store sales were down by 2% in 2011. After launching a start-up retail grocery operation designed to appeal to Hispanic consumers -- called AVANZA -- in 2009, it sold four of the five markets in 2011.
On the retail side of its business Nash-Finch has been actively adding to its supermarket holdings. It acquired the No Frills Supermarkets chain of 18 stores in Nebraska and Iowa in mid-2012. The deal builds on the company's purchase of Bag 'N Save, which has 12 supermarkets in Omaha and York, Nebraska, earlier in the year. In late 2011 Nash Finch bought a Wally's Supermarket in Devils Lake, North Dakota, where Nash Finch was founded in 1885.
Mutual fund company T. Rowe Price owns around 10% of Nash-Finch. – less