- SpartanNash has hired Lori Raya as chief merchandising and marketing officer, the company announced in a press release. In her role with SpartanNash, Raya will be responsible for developing and executing the company’s merchandising and marketing strategy, driving innovation to enhance customer experience and increasing sales and market share. SpartanNash’s incumbent CMMO, Larry Pierce, will retire this year.
- Raya comes to SpartanNash after a 30-year career with Albertsons, where she advanced from store associate at Safeway to her most recent role as division president of Albertsons. Raya held a number of other executive positions during her tenure with the company, including a role as the first female division president of Von’s.
- “Lori’s success as a strategic thinker, collaborative influencer, change manager, community contributor and visionary leader has enabled her to lead marketing and merchandising teams to deliver innovative, customer-focused changes while driving sales and supporting associate development,” said David Staples, president and CEO of SpartanNash, in a statement.
Raya comes to SpartanNash with a wealth of knowledge and experience in grocery retail for one of the nation’s largest and most recognizable grocery companies, with expertise spanning everything from retail operations to food category management. She most recently led Albertsons’ post-merger transition with Safeway and integrated multiple banners within her division.
SpartanNash made a major investment in its retail operations last fall when it purchased Martin’s Super Markets, and it appears that the company has confidence in Raya’s retail experience to help strengthen and grow this side of the business. With a new regional banner like Martin’s in the mix, Spartan needs a retail-savvy executive to guide its strategy and fully realize the potential of the acquisition. SpartanNash may even have ambitions for other retail acquisitions, and Raya can help direct those efforts in the future.
The company is also looking to evolve its customer experience and recently introduced a scan-and-go mobile app at two of its Family Fare stores in Wyoming, with plans to launch the app for more stores this year. Raya’s extensive experience with Albertsons – which has a sophisticated e-commerce arm – will, no doubt, be valuable to SpartanNash as it integrates technology into its retail banners.
SpartanNash has also seen declining retail sales in recent months and needs to get back on solid ground if it’s going to succeed as a grocery retailer in the future. Raya’s hiring is reminiscent of fellow wholesaler Supervalu’s move to hire former Safeway and Target executive Anne Dament in 2017, a move to aid Supervalu’s struggling retail business before it was acquired by United Natural Foods, Inc. Dament now heads up UNFI's retail, marketing and private brands divisions.