Arpen Shah has joined grocery distributor/retailer SpartanNash as vice president of merchandising strategy and analytics, a newly created position.
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based SpartanNash said Monday that, in the new role, Shah oversees merchandising strategy and analytics for the company’s overall merchandising business as well as leads promotional planning, shelf technology, category management and merchandising data analytics.
Shah comes to SpartanNash after spending nearly 10 years at distribution and logistics firm Essendant, where he most recently served as senior director of merchandising enablement. Before that, he held sales reporting and analysis, merchandising analyst, category management analyst and order management roles at Underwriters Laboratories, United Stationers, US Foods and Canon.
“Arpen is an astute and people-first merchandising executive who has a strong background in category management and analytics," Bennett Morgan, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer at SpartanNash, said in a statement. “His expertise and relentless innovative drive will accelerate our customer-led merchandising transformation.”
SpartanNash noted that Shah’s hiring reflects the company’s investment in its “merchandising transformation,” which focuses on leveraging data and insights to sharpen category planning, promotional efficacy and customer-focused innovation. The merchandising investment was highlighted last November at SpartanNash’s first Investor Day event.
“The world has changed quite a bit, and we were not equipped with the capacity to handle seven times or eight times the number of pricing actions and all the wild varieties of things that are coming at our merchants now,” President and CEO Tony Sarsam said in an interview with Winsight Grocery Business at the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference. “So we had to retool ourselves to deal with supply chain disruption and and the category disruption from these inflationary times that we are still in today. So we made some big investments in the fourth quarter, in particular, around engaging with our suppliers to make sure we had a great offering for our [distribution] customers and for our shoppers.”
Via its core food wholesaling business, SpartanNash distributes to all 50 states, supplying 145 corporate-run supermarkets in nine Midwestern states—which constitute its retail business unit—and over 2,100 independent grocery retailers nationwide. The company, with about 17,500 employees, also distributes to 160 military commissaries and over 400 exchanges in the United States and internationally.