Banking & Finance, Food Service & Agriculture, and Human Resources

Grocery chain investing in employees and brand after tax reform

February 23, 2018
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SpartanNash D&W Fresh Market Grand Haven Robbins Road
D&W Fresh Market is one of the store brands by Byron Center-based SpartanNash. Courtesy SpartanNash

A locally based grocery store chain plans to re-invest half of its savings from federal tax reform into employee compensation and one of its brands.

David Staples, the CEO of Byron Center-based SpartanNash, which is also a food distributor, said in a conference call to investors yesterday the company will issue bonuses, raise wages and invest in employee training in the first quarter of 2018.

Staples also said SpartanNash plans to inject funds into enhancing the Family Fare brand — particularly in the Michigan market: including boosting its “health and wellness focus” and organic offerings; improving the Fast Lane curbside delivery model, grab-and-go meal solutions, the store experience, home delivery and online shopping; and redoubling its marketing efforts.

Staples said the employee and brand investments will equal about half of the company’s fourth-quarter 2017 savings from the federal tax overhaul. He did not disclose the amount.

“We ended 2017 with the company positioned for growth despite the ever-evolving retail landscape,” Staples said.

“We continue to take actions that we believe will enhance the convenience and value that we provide our customers and continue to see positive results from our investments. To enhance this momentum, we intend to invest approximately 50 percent of our tax reform savings in our associates and programs designed to improve our competitive position.”

SpartanNash spokesperson Meredith Gremel said the company does not plan to disclose the total dollar amount of the bonuses.

She said “most” of the company’s 16,000 associates will be eligible — those who started after July 1, 2017 or have worked 1,000 or more hours at the company.

The bonus amounts will vary depending on the employee’s position and market, as will the wage increases, Gremel said. She noted those in entry-level roles or just beyond will benefit the most.

“We had completed a market analysis on what’s the competitive rate by market,” Gremel said.

The company will use the data to determine payouts.

Staples said the bonuses and wage hikes will be spread across the company’s retail and distribution segments but will be “a little tilted to retail.”

Bonuses and wage increases will be paid starting March 9 and continue throughout the first quarter.


SpartanNash (Nasdaq: SPTN) was formed in 2013 when the Nash Finch Company — founded in 1885 — and Spartan Stores — established in 1917 — merged.

The Fortune 350 company distributes grocery products to independent retailers, national accounts, its corporate-owned retail stores and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges.

SpartanNash serves customer locations in 47 states and the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Bahrain and Egypt.

The company operates 143 supermarkets, primarily under the banners of Family Fare Supermarkets, D&W Fresh Market, VG’s Grocery, Dan’s Supermarket and Family Fresh Market.

SpartanNash had 2017 revenue of $8.13 billion.

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