TEWKSBURY, Mass. (AP) — The Market Basket supermarket chain’s 71 stores have already accomplished a remarkable turnaround thanks to employees who worked day and night to restock shelves left empty by a worker revolt, the company’s chief said.
Arthur T. Demoulas is back in control after offering more than $1.5 billion to buy shares of the private company from rival relatives who had fired him in June.
His ouster led to six weeks of worker walkouts and customer boycotts that brought the Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based chain to a standstill.
“Sales are already at 100 percent of where they were last year,” he said in an interview with The Boston Globe. “Bakery, produce, and meat are mostly in. Everyone just got to it and worked as hard as they could.”
And while new debt from the purchase might slow expansion, he insists it will not change the discount pricing that’s won loyalty from customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, nor will it change his commitment to employees, including a profit-sharing plan that costs tens of millions of dollars per year.
“Every retailer has to stand for something,” Demoulas said. “We’re very much grounded in the basic philosophy of driving the ‘more for your dollar’ business model. That’s really something we live by every day.”
The loyalty of the company’s workers imparted a valuable lesson, he said.
“I think so many people could relate to it because it affects everyone,” he said. “If everyone in the workplace is equal and treated with dignity, they work with a little extra passion, a little extra dedication. I think that’s a wonderful business message to the world.”
Now, he said he is eager to return to the normal rhythms of running the company founded by his grandfather nearly a century ago.
“Look,” he said. “I’m happy just being a grocer.”
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