The board of US retailer Albertsons Inc. (ABS) is backing Chief Executive Larry Johnston despite last week's collapse of a plan to sell the company, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The company's board directors "continue to be unanimously supportive" of Johnston, they said in a statement issued to the Journal in response to questions on the matter.

Albertsons' media relations office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Late last Thursday, Albertsons said it had terminated all discussions on the potential sale of the entire company, sending its shares down 12 percent the following day.

Albertsons, which owns grocery stores and drugstores, had attracted four groups of private equity bidders. The group that took the lead — comprising hedge fund Cerberus Capital, grocery operator Supervalu Inc. (SVU) and real estate investment trust Kimco Realty Corp. (KIM) — was vying for the grocery stores, according to sources close to the auction. CVS Corp. (CVS) meanwhile placed a bid to buy some of the drugstores, but those talks also ended.