Liz Ferneding, the Aldi veteran who brought a new look and focus to The Kroger Co.’s Ruler Foods discount chain, has taken a new job with the parent company.
Ferneding was recently promoted to VP of retail operations in Kroger’s Cincinnati office, a Kroger spokesman confirmed to WGB. Her successor at Ruler Foods will be announced at a future date. In the interim, Dustin Goodpaster has been serving as president of Ruler.
Based in Seymour, Ind., and with about 50 stores in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee, Ruler Foods is Kroger’s experiment in hard discount retailing. The concept grew out of the JayC Food Stores division, which Kroger acquired in 1999. Kroger has since reclassified JayC stores as part of its Louisville division.
Ferneding joined Ruler Foods in 2017 from Aldi, where she spent 11 years in a variety of roles, including director of buying and marketing director.
Under Ferneding’s watch, Kroger overhauled the Ruler concept behind a new logo and tagline, store renovations and emphasis on merchandising Kroger’s private brand portfolio. Its stores are primarily located in rural communities without a strong Kroger presence and cater to budget-minded shoppers. Its stores average about 19,000 square feet.
For Ferneding’s new role, Kroger said it would “leverage her skill and experience to further drive the positive results we are achieving through our Restock Kroger plan.”
Goodpaster, like Ferneding, is an Aldi veteran. According to LinkedIn, he joined Ruler in February 2018 as director of store operations—the same title he’d previously held with Aldi.