Grocery chain hires chief merchandising and marketing officer


Lori Raya. Courtesy SpartanNash

A locally based grocery chain has named a new executive to oversee its merchandising and marketing functions.

Byron Center-based SpartanNash hired Lori Raya — former division president of the Boise, Idaho-based grocery company Albertsons — as chief merchandising and marketing officer, effective Feb. 18, according to the business this week.

She will report directly to SpartanNash President and CEO David Staples.

“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,” Staples said.

“Her career path is also inspiring to all those who love this industry and want to help take the company to the next level. We look forward to having her onboard.”

Raya is assuming the position from Larry Pierce, who is retiring.

Pierce will transition his duties to Raya and focus on special projects until his planned retirement in September.

Pierce joined the company in 2008 and has served as EVP, merchandising and marketing, since 2014.

“Larry’s leadership, knowledge of the wholesale and grocery industry and commitment to innovation have been key to our success, and we appreciate his assistance throughout this transitional period,” Staples said.


In her role as chief merchandising and marketing officer, Raya will be responsible for the development and execution of the enterprise-wide merchandising and marketing strategy, ensuring alignment with the enterprise’s overall business strategy, and providing strategic direction to develop, analyze and implement product assortment, brand positioning, sales planning, pricing, promotion, sourcing and distribution for independent customers and corporate-owned stores.

The oversight will include directing in-depth research and analysis of consumer trends and sales performance and driving innovation to enhance the customer experience in store and online.

Raya will also be responsible for increasing sales and market share, improving productivity and profitability and cultivating an engaged, customer-centric workforce.

Raya’s background

Raya joins SpartanNash following a 31-year career with Safeway/Albertsons, most recently serving as division president of Albertsons from 2015-18, following her role as division president of VONS.

In her most recent role, Raya led the post-acquisition transition with Safeway and integration of multiple banner teams within her division for the second-largest grocery store chain in the U.S., with more than 2,200 stores and 250,000 employees.

Raya’s career with Safeway spanned 30 years, as she moved through the ranks from a store associate to store manager, district manager, VP of retail operations, group VP of strategic initiatives and multiple food category senior management positions, before serving as the first female divisional president in VON’s 107-year history from 2012-15.

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