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Sobeys Executive Panel Offers Exclusive Glimpse

Date Published: October 10, 2019

On October 10, over 100 graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members attended a special panel discussion by executives from Sobeys Inc. in celebration of Retail Month. The event was hosted by the David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services.

Liam Sobey, Vice President, Merchandising , Lorne MacLean, Senior Vice President, Retail Operations, and Vivek Sood MBA’98, Executive Vice President, Related Business, each presented on facets of the Sobeys operation and their own career paths, offering students an unprecedented glimpse inside the workings of the successful national company. The three described current innovation initiatives in areas of marketing, merchandising, operations, and strategy that impact the company at all levels. For instance, they talked about the importance of “assortment” (the variety of products offered) and how technology has helped the company be more nimble and evidence-based in choosing what products to sell. They also talked about Project Sunrise,their much-praised efforts to restructure and reduce costs.

Students were urged to reconsider careers in retail. Lorne shared that the salary of an average store manager is about $85k plus a bonus of up to 60%-- a fact, he noted, that most students don’t realize when they are selecting the industry they want to work in.

Each of the panelists praised the variety of roles open to them, opportunities to learn and daily challenges. Students left with a more informed idea of the real state of today’s retail industry, and lots to chew on as they consider their futures.


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