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Unprecedented sales volumes at grocery stores

Many grocery stores suspend use of salad bars and other self serve areas. (photo from author)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — Michigan-based grocer and wholesale food distributor SpartanNash Co. (Nasdaq: SPTN), which operates a grocery store chain in northern Indiana and distribution centers in central Indiana, says retail and distribution sales volume is “unprecedented,’ and trending at two to three times normal sales levels.

The company says it’s a direct result of the coronavirus as customers stock up supplies and clear shelves of bread, water, cleaning supplies.

In response, SpartanNash has launched an initiative to hire displaced workers who may have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

“Our family of associates is working hard to keep our independent customers, military commissaries and our own retail stores’ shelves stocked with household essentials,” said Dennis Eidson, SpartanNash’s Interim president and chief executive officer.

SpartanNash says qualified candidates can apply for immediate interviews and on-the-spot hiring at retail stores and distribution centers. While the positions are currently temporary, the company says they could lead to full-time employment.

“We continue to work with suppliers, our distribution centers and our store operations teams to ensure that these critical items are reaching our stores as quickly as possible,” said a company statement.

The grocer operates Martin’s Supermarkets chain in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan. The company recently implemented a number of other safety changes to store operations in response to COVID-19.

It has suspended service at self-serve areas in all stores, including salad bars, soup bars, and donut cases. Other grocery chains have implemented similar measures.

“You may see other changes or temporary closings in the coming days as we continue to monitor the impact of the coronavirus and adhere to local, state and federal guidance,” said a statement from SpartanNash.

In addition to grocery stores in Indiana, SpartanNash also operates a wholesale distribution center in Indianapolis (CAITO foods) and a military distribution center in Bloomington.