Retail News Breaks
Industry mourns passing of American Stores' Sam Skaggs
March 22nd, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY – Leonard S. "Sam" Skaggs Jr., former chairman and chief executive officer of food and drug retail giant American Stores Co., died yesterday at age 89.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Skaggs passed away Thursday morning from natural causes at his home in Salt Lake City, where American Stores was based for most of its history.
Skaggs, whose father launched PayLess drug stores, retired as American Stores CEO in 1988 and stepped down from the chairman's role in 1995.
He took control of the company — then known as Skaggs Drug Co., operating 11 PayLess drug stores — in 1950 after the death of his father, who had founded the firm in 1939.
Over the next several decades, Skaggs Jr. built what was to become American Stores into one of the industry's premier supermarket and drug store operators, with over 1,550 outlets, including 750 drug stores.
At one point the nation's largest supermarket company, American Stores boasted an extensive roster of store banners, including at one time or another Acme Markets, Alpha Beta, Jewel, Star Market, Buttrey Food & Drug, Lucky Stores and Kash 'n Karry, among others.
The company also at one time was the biggest pharmacy retailer, known for such names as Osco and Sav-on.
Skaggs and his family also were known for their philanthropy, donating and steering millions of dollars to a range of charitable causes, organizations, education and research.
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