2021 Star Women in Grocery winner Stéphanie Marando (Q&A)
Canadian Grocer staff
Merchandising Director – Grocery
How did you get into the grocery business?
I had been working in the fashion industry for eight years and had gone through several structural changes because of the competitiveness of the industry. A few family members were already working in the food industry and they suggested that I apply online on Metro’s career website. I figured I could use a change, and working in a stable environment was an objective of mine, so that is what led me to start my career at Metro. I have been here for eight years now.
What's your proudest career moment?
I have just recently gone through my proudest career moment: I got promoted to merchandising director for the grocery department at Super C. I had been longing for this position for a while, and I count myself very lucky to have accomplished it. I worked hard to achieve this goal, but I also credit having a great team to work with throughout those years. The most important thing is to love what you do.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
The best advice I’ve been given is to treat business relations amongst your peers differently than with external sources. The relationships you have with work colleagues will follow you through your path, whereas intense negotiations with suppliers are sometimes needed in order to advance.
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?
The biggest challenge I have been faced with is tackling the organic section within our stores. The objective was to double linear space in order to bring in more assortment for the customer, and compete with other discounters in the market. I had to start with very basic data and formulate different types of analysis that would best suit the banner’s objectives.
What are some of your biggest career highlights/greatest achievements?
I have led different projects and have a list of achievements to be proud of. Included among them are the sell-through of seasonal confectionery at the McMahon warehouse (Metro’s pharmacy distribution arm) during the first few months of an SAP implementation. All in-and-out products were purchased and shipped out completely to stores, leaving the inventory at the McMahon warehouse exactly on target. I have also developed, along with IT, a business tool that helped facilitate all distribution to stores. This was a priority for banner efficiency, as discount banners want to maintain their position as leaders in floorplan executions. Having managed dairy products throughout the years, I generated the largest growth in sales and in revenue year over year and managed to bring up refrigerated grocery ratio to 27% of total grocery sales.
What do you like most about your job?
Being a foodie, I can relate to the products being sold on shelves. We work every day on making assortment and pricing suit our customer’s needs. I love that merchandising is very fast paced, and that we need to be quick on our feet to react to market trends. The food industry is also essential, and volume driven, and it’s fun to get weekly reports that help us better understand and analyze results based on our business decisions.
Click here for the full list of 2021 Star Women in Grocery award winners.