Southeastern Grocers Inc. (SEG) is bolstering its commitment to include a broader range of diverse suppliers with a new program. Under the initiative, the grocer will work to identify and boost sourcing from grocery, general merchandise, and/or beauty and personal care product suppliers that are at least 51% owned, operated and managed by people who are disadvantaged, disabled, LGBTQ+, military veterans, minorities and/or women.
“It is our responsibility to take purposeful steps to form stronger partnerships with our minority suppliers and connect with new, diverse businesses whose products reflect the tastes and preferences of our associates, customers and communities that we serve in our stores,” noted Dewayne Rabon, chief merchant for SEG. “We are truly stronger together, and we are committed to being a culture of belonging and fostering an inclusive environment where differences are celebrated — we plan to reflect those values in the products we offer on our stores shelves every day.”
Together with Solon, Ohio-based Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) and RangeMe, an ECRM program based in San Francisco, SEG will hold a virtual sourcing conference this spring to improve partnerships with existing minority suppliers and connect with other diverse businesses to grow store offerings tailored to its various customers and communities. Participants will be able to engage with SEG buyers and category managers to share their company background, product information and marketing plans.
The initiative is part of the grocer’s ongoing pledge to be a catalyst for lasting change and inclusion throughout its organization, suppliers, associates, customers and communities. To extend that commitment to its vendors, the grocer has almost doubled its spend with diverse suppliers since 2019.
Other retailers to launch retailer diversity programs with the help of ECRM include Midwestern grocers Meijer and Schnucks.
Further, the grocer, its customers and the SEG Gives Foundation raised more than $170,000 during Black History Month in February to help support nonprofits that serve minority sectors throughout its market area in the fight for racial equity and social justice. Last year, SEG and the SEG Gives Foundation debuted the Romay Davis Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity Grant Program and donated more than $3.7 million to community groups that support diverse populationsthroughout the grocer’s footprint.
Jacksonville, Florida-based Southeastern Grocers is one of the largest conventional supermarket companies in the United States, with grocery stores, liquor stores and in-store pharmacies serving communities throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. Its banners are Bi-Lo, Fresco y Más, Harveys, and Winn-Dixie. The company is No. 34 on The PG 100,PG’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Meijer, operating 256 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin, is No. 19 on PG's list, while St. Louis-based Schnucks, with 112 stores in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, is No. 67.