Sam’s fills top merchandising job

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Linda Hefner is the new head merchant at Sam’s Club, the company announced. Hefner previously served as EVP and general manager of the home business for Walmart U.S. and will assume her new role as Sam’s Club’s EVP merchandising and replenishment effective May 15.

She was appointed to the new role by Brian Cornell, who became president and CEO of Sam’s Club earlier this month, and moved quickly to fill a position that has been vacant since last October when former head merchant Greg Spragg resigned.

“Linda has a wealth of experience and successes across key and diverse merchandise categories that will complement the team’s focus on quality and value,” Cornell said. “In addition, her perspective on the consumer packaged goods industry, keen marketing insights and deep understanding of consumer needs will augment the strengths of the Sam’s Club senior leadership team. We are excited to have her on the team.”

 

Areplacement for Hefner was not immediately named.

 

Hefner joined Walmart U.S. in May 2007 about the time the company began a major renovation of it home goods offering. Under her leadership, the home team redefined the merchandise assortment by focusing on exclusive national and private-label brands, quality, and enhanced in-store presentation that resulted in strong positive comps, according to the company.

Walmart’s choice of Hefner to lead the home business initially seemed somewhat odd, as she joined the company from Kraft foods where she was EVP global strategy and business development. However, prior to Kraft she had considerable experience with Sara Lee back when the company still had its apparel division. In addition, she has a MBA degree from Harvard, which is something of a rarity among the senior executive ranks at Wal-Mart.