Director of Import Business – SuperValu

SuperValu: Minnesota-Eden Prairie

Directs and supervises SUPERVALU International (SVI) team of international sourcing managers, analyst(s) and department specialist(s) in Minneapolis with the goal of providing import alternatives to achieve lower cost of goods for SUPERVALU (SVU), maintain existing import products within Private Brands while assuring innovation and quality.  Drive SVU sales by managing import business development in collaboration with SVI, category management, merchandising and product development teams in Private Brands and Save A Lot (SAL).  Acts as the key import liaison between SVI/Tacoma and Private Brands/Merchandising/ISM teams in Minneapolis.

Job Responsibilities and Accountabilities

  • Develop overall import business development in collaboration with SVI and all relative SVU teams
  • Collaborates with brand/product management to develop growth objectives and plans that align with company, category and Private Brand strategies
  • Delivers consistent increase in volume on direct imported products intended for re-sale, to include food, and non-food categories with some collaboration with seasonal general merchandise
  • Delivers improved value propositions for reduced COGS or improved quality on import products
  • Provides direction, expectation, and training to sourcing managers including category import vendor development and tactical aspects of negotiation.
  • Leads import negotiations in select categories (in partnership with Merchandising for some products).
  • Directs, with SVI, negotiation and implementation of import agreements/contracts for products intended for re-sale, to include Food and
  • General Merchandise categories
    Communicates issues and reports to management and takes action as appropriate.
  • Collaborates with SVI and Merchandising on import vendor management process including vendor performance and product quality
  • Possesses a thorough understanding of import processes and procedures.
  • Evaluates opportunities for COGS reduction through import product source changes in conjunction with merchandising category review initiatives.
  • Determines with SVI management best import vendor selection based on vetting process, vendor reputation, vendor requirements and specifications provided by Merchandising and QA/FS
  • Initiates long-term strategic planning with SVI team to develop new import factory direct sourced programs to bring competitive advantage to the business.
  • Works with all areas of the company to ensure all safety standards and established protocols are fulfilled by our import vendors for food, non-food and general merchandise products.
  • Works directly with manager and the Quality Assurance department to establish procedures for plant audits and product testing/monitoring for foreign vendors to ensure they meet all food safety standards
  • Assures, with manager, that importing functions are in compliance with  all government policies and regulations
  • Develops new and continually improves processes in collaboration with Tacoma to enhance efficiency and reduce costs.
  • Works with a cross-functional team of marketing, packaging, quality assurance, and product development to develop new products and improve existing products
  • Responsible for development of SVI Minneapolis team
  • Responsible for integration of SVI processes/procedures
  • Completes other duties as requested or required.


Number of Associates Supervised: Directly: 5+     Indirectly: 0
Up to 4 Global Sourcing Managers
Up to 2 Global Sourcing Analysts
Up to 4 Global Sourcing Department Specialists

Job Requirements

Relevant Experience, Education, Certification, Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Bachelor’s Degree required; MBA preferred but not required
  • 8 + years of import sourcing/negotiating experience
  • 5+ years of merchandising experience at a category management or director level
  • 3 + years in team leadership position
  • Clear understanding of import and domestic logistics
  • Proven leadership, strategic planning, category management knowledge and strong analytical and communication skills essential
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Proven experience in creating and making senior level management and sales presentations.
  • Possess high degree of initiative, creative, innovative, proactive skills and abilities.
  • Good interpersonal skills to develop and maintain effective business relationships at all levels of the company and in the business community.
  • Project excellent management, leadership, and supervisory skills.
  • High level of analytical and financial skills.
  • Knowledge with negotiating large multi-million dollar contracts.
  • Computer proficiency and knowledge of Microsoft Office

Physical Environment

  • Some work is performed in a temperature-controlled office environment.
  • Incumbent may sit for long periods of time at desk or computer terminal.
  • Incumbent may use calculators, keyboards, telephone, and other office equipment in the course of normal workday.
  • Physical activities include moving about the warehouse floor, breaking down loads, lifting up to 60 lbs. daily.
  • Potential hazards exist in regard to machinery such as forklifts, pallet jacks, mechanized systems, movement of tractors and trailers, etc.
  • Stooping, bending, twisting, and reaching may be required in completion of job duties.
  • Must be available to work flexible or unusual hours as needed, including weekends.


Please follow and like us:
Previous articleNice! Commercial, Nice! Brand Building
Next articleDirector Product Management – Staples
Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.