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Kroger taps ALDI executive to lead discount grocery division

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Wednesday named Liz Ferneding to Ruler division president, effective July 31. Ferneding succeeds Paul Bowen, who retired in May.

"Liz's extensive grocery retail experience in procurement, marketing, advertising, management and operations will be an asset to our Ruler associates, customers and community," stated Rodney McMullen, Kroger chairman and CEO. "We have a lot of respect for the Ruler format and the customer it serves. Liz's talent and insights will help us sharpen our value-centric, small-format store."

Ferneding is a graduate of the Farmer School of Business at Miami University and joins Kroger from ALDI, where she has served in a variety of leadership roles for the last 11 years, including an international assignment in Australia. Upon her return to the U.S., Ferneding was promoted to marketing director and then earlier this year, she was promoted to director of corporate buying.

The Ruler division is headquartered in Seymour, Indiana, with 48 stores operating in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee. Ruler stores, which average 19,000 square feet, offer low prices and an expansive selection of Our Brands foods. Ruler will open two new stores later this year.

"I'm excited to join the Ruler team to help further develop the format, grow the brand and enhance customer engagement," Ferneding said. "I have admired the Kroger Co. both as a consumer and a competitor and have looked to the company throughout my tenure in the industry as a benchmark in grocery retail."

 

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Bartell Drugs adds 3 board members

BY David Salazar

SEATTLE — Bartell Drugs has announced three the addition of three new members to its board of directors. The new additions — Kathy Gersch, Marck Schwartz and Kristi Marchbanks — have experience with online and brick-and-mortar retail, as well as work on other companies’ boards.

Gersch, former VP, chief marketing officer and GM of drugstore.com, has experience in leading the transformation of companies around the world in such sectors as healthcare, CPG, retail, energy and aerospace through her company Kotter International. She also has experience as an independent consultant and has previously served as VP finance, strategic planning and administration for Nordstrom Product Group and VP at Façconable International.

Schwartz possesses more than 20 years of c-suite experience and has been a board member of such companies as Starbucks. He advises the CEOs of 18 portfolio companies in the food, technology, healthcare and manufacturing spaces as an investor. He is the co-founder of grocery retailer Bodega Latina (El Super).

Marchbanks has worked in both the start-up and Fortune 500 business spaces, and has experience as a board member and corporate strategy executive. In her career, she has started new companies, launched products and scaled businesses by accelerating revenue growth, and was among the first to commercialize big data, cloud computing and software-as-a-service.

“We are delighted to add these three very talented outside directors to our Board,” vice chairman and treasurer Jean Bartell Barber said. “I anticipate that they will provide significant strategic guidance to our company.”

Alongside Bartell Barber, George Bartell, who is continuing in his role as chairman, is representing the Bartell family. Non-family board members are Shelley Milano, currently general counsel at retailer L Brands; Bill Brakken, former CFO of Lanoga Corporation; and Frank Segrave, formerly SVP at Cardinal Health, VP Pharmacy at Walmart, and currently founder and CEO of Silvergate Pharmaceuticals.

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Comparable Q1 pharmacy sales up 10.1% for Jean Coutu

BY Michael Johnsen

VARENNES, Quebec — The Jean Coutu Group on Tuesday reported $580.6 million in revenues for the first quarter ended June 3, representing an increase of 3.7% that was attriubuted to overall market growth by the Canadian retailer.

"During the first quarter, we continued to implement our buiness plan efficiently, which resulted in a significant increase in retail sales despite an ongoing competitive environment," stated Francois Coutu, president and CEO Jean Coutu. "The development of dynamic initiatives will continue to be our priority over the next few quarters in order to contribute to the increase of retail sales and thus continue our growth and maintain our leadership."

On a same-store basis, the PJC network realized a 6.8% lift in retail sales, representing growth of 10.1% in comparable sales across its pharmacy operations and a 1.4% lift in same-store front-end sales. Sales of nonprescription drugs, which represented 8.5% of total retail sales, increased by 2.2%.

Generic drugs reached 71.6% of prescriptions during the first quarter, compared to 70.7% for the comparable period last year. The increase in the number of generic drugs had a deflationary impact on the pharmacy's retail sales, Jean Coutu reported. For the first quarter, new generic drugs reduced pharmacy's retail sales by 0.6%, and price reductions of generic drugs reduced retail sales growth by an additional 0.5%.
 

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