The good news about Nash Finch Co. is that there hasn't been much news lately.
That's probably a welcome relief to the Edina-based food distributor and retailer. Over the past few years, Nash Finch has endured management turmoil, slumping sales, a federal insider trading investigation and lawsuits from competitors, investors, and shareholders. Several Wall Street analysts have stopped covering the company.
But now there is some good news. The stock price was up strongly before the recent market problems, and sales have been growing in both main sectors of the business -- food distribution and military.
Under Covington, Nash Finch has also boosted profitability, invested millions of dollars in marketing and retooling retail stores, and -- perhaps most importantly -- cleaned up the mess left behind by former CEO Ron Marshall.
"Morale seems to have improved," said David Livingston, managing director of DJL Research in Pewaukee, Wis. Nash Finch "has more clear-cut objectives in terms of what they want to do. They certainly stopped going in the wrong direction. They seem to be on the right path."