Lori Raya, a 30-year retail supermarket executive who most recently helped to engineer a turnaround for SpartanNash’s retail stores, has joined The Kroger Co. as president of its Mid-Atlantic division.
Raya succeeds Paula Ginnett, who has been promoted to group VP, retail operations, with Kroger’s corporate headquarters in Cincinnati. Raya informed SpartanNash last month that she would be departing.
Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division, now headquartered in Richmond, Va., operates more than 100 stores in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio, and employs about 18,000 associates.
Raya most recently was chief merchandising and marketing officer for SpartanNash, joining the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based wholesaler and retailer in February 2019. Under her watch, SpartanNash’s owned retail stores in 2019 turned positive comparable-store sales for the first quarter since Spartan Stores’ merger with Nash Finch five years earlier.
Prior to joining SparanNash, Raya had a long career with Safeway and Albertsons, where she held a number of leadership roles, including division president for Albertsons from 2015-2018 and division president for Vons, a Safeway umbrella company, from 2012-2015. At Vons, Raya led the grocer’s largest division, comprised of more than 275 stores, and was the first woman to serve as division president for the brand.
“Lori is a respected leader within the grocery retail industry and her perspective will be a valued addition to the Mid-Atlantic division. She is a people-first leader who will build on the success of Paula and the division team to continue deliver a full, fresh and friendly experience to every customer,” said Valerie Jabbar, SVP of retail divisions for Kroger. “We are so grateful for the leadership that Paula has shown over the past two years, and we are pleased to know that we’ll continue to benefit from her experience as she transitions to a new role with the company.”
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