SpartanNash Pushes Forward on Merchandising Investments, Tapping AI and Expanding Leadership Team

Liz Dominguez
Managing Editor
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Grocery retailer SpartanNash is making progress on its goal to overhaul its merchandising efforts, now tapping artificial intelligence to bolster strategies and naming Bennett Morgan to EVP, chief merchandising officer.

By investing in a new inventory and replenishment optimization application that is powered by artificial intelligence (AI), the company will be able to improve upon its existing merchandising strategies, elevate sustainability, and improve visibility into inventory

The company has partnered with Upshop to consolidate ordering systems, help with merchandising reset planning in both the produce department and center store, and deliver a more cohesive planogram. 

The investment will allow SpartanNash associates to access real-time views of store inventory to help reduce waste and maximize product assortment. By predicting shopper demand using AI, the company can better prepare for seasonal trends, enhance its promotions, and gain insights that will improve inventory and sales data accuracy,

"At SpartanNash, we're prioritizing technology to enhance our associate and store guest experience," said SpartanNash executive vice president, corporate retail Tom Swanson, in a statement. "By leveraging advanced analytics to predict product demand, our associates can spend less time checking inventory and more time face-to-face helping serve our shoppers."

According to SpartanNash EVP and chief strategy and information officer Masiar Tayebi, AI can “improve operational excellence in our stores and across our business network.” 

"Improving our inventory control and accuracy accelerates the financial benefits we can realize from our merchandising and supply chain transformations," he added.

A Top-Down Plan in the Works


The company has made several changes to its leadership team over the last year, particularly in its merchandising field. The latest is the promotion of Bennett Morgan to EVP, chief merchandising officer.

Morgan was previously SVP, chief merchandising officer, having joined the company in January of 2022. In the role, he leads fresh, center store, and pharmacy merchandising, along with category management, pricing, and promotions. He also oversees the management of relevant data. 

He brings a heavy focus on merchandising from working with companies like H-E-B, Amazon, and Walmart, where he served as VP of merchandising for China and Japan. He has zoned in on cost negotiations and advanced data in the past.

"Bennett's leadership has advanced our capabilities in merchandising and accelerated the benefits we are realizing from our transformation work," said SpartanNash CEO Tony Sarsam in a statement. "Merchandising continues to play a critical role in our store guest experience, and we are leveraging those insights to help our independent grocery customers grow their businesses."

This is just the latest move in a significant effort to transform merchandising at the company. Recently, the company also named Arpen Shah as VP of merchandising strategy and analytics, and Brandon Pasch as VP of center store merchandising. 

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