Sprouts Farmers Market has appointed J. Scott Neal, who most recently was SVP of produce, meat and seafood for Walmart, as its chief fresh merchandising officer.
J. Scott Neal
Neal will join the Phoenix-based natural foods retailer effective June 15 and will report directly to Sprouts CEO Jack Sinclair. Like Neal, Sinclair is a veteran of Walmart’s food business, having spent eight years as EVP of grocery. He has said that fresh food merchandising was among his top priorities in remaking Spouts.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Scott to the Sprouts team,” Sinclair said in a statement. “Scott joins us at the perfect time to leverage his deep experience in fresh merchandising and sourcing as we begin to implement our long-term growth strategy by creating an advantaged fresh supply chain to bring better-for-you options and innovative products to support our customers’ healthy lifestyles.”
At Walmart, Neal helped the retailer establish its own beef supply, a key element in that retailer’s move to improve the quality perception and consistency in its beef products.
Neal brings more than 25 years of retail experience to Sprouts, focused largely on fresh food merchandising. For the past eight years, he has been SVP and general merchandise manager for the fresh food division of Walmart U.S., where he oversaw quality control and merchandising of produce, meat and seafood.
Neal served Walmart over a 24-year career, including as VP, divisional merchandising manager of the meat division of Walmart U.S. from 2009 to 2011; VP, divisional merchandising manager of the commercial bread and bakery divisions; and VP of international merchandising. Neal has also served as a member of the board of directors of Feeding America since 2016. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
“I am excited to join Sprouts at this pivotal time in its growth trajectory,” said Neal. “It is more important than ever that our customers have access to fresh, healthy food to feed their families, and I look forward to joining Jack and the Sprouts leadership team to advance the company’s long-term vision of building a brand that is good for you, good for your family and good for the planet.”