Canadian Retailer - November/December 2012 - (Page 18)

RCC: LEADERS' PERSPECTIVES LES MANN: BUILDING A LASTING GROCERY LEGACY Recalling the evolution of grocery and food offering with a retailer who’s seen it all BY DENISE DEVEAU W ithin the retail grocery trade, Les Mann is somewhat of a legend. With 40 years of retail experience to his credit, he has watched the industry evolve from the days of local grocers to nationwide superstores that are all things to all people. Now Senior Vice President of Food and Consumables at Walmart Canada, Mann was recently awarded the Food Industry Association of Canada’s Golden Pencil Award. Considered to be the grocery trade’s highest honour, the Award recognizes individuals whose career dedication has made a significant and worthwhile contribution to the Canadian Food Industry. Typically the winner is chosen from as many as 40 nominees. Mann says he feels especially proud of the award because it is determined by the number of nominations each candidate receives from industry peers. “That’s very gratifying when you consider that the award takes into account your contributions to the industry, your company and the community.” The accolades are well deserved for a person who has actually dedicated more than four decades to the profession. In fact, his grocery career stretches back much longer. As a young adolescent he spent his off-school hours selling his uncle’s produce at a local farmer’s market. “I loved getting up at 4 a.m. to drive to market and set up the stall. When I look at that now, that was my first introduction to the world of selling groceries, although I didn’t even know it at the time.” Mann had actually trained as a draughtsperson in school, he adds. “But I found a lot more excitement and had a lot more interest in retailing and serving customers. Even back then, I loved learning how customers shopped and looking for opportunities to better satisfy their needs for food and grocery items. That turned into a lifelong passion.” Mann’s professional journey began at Steinberg/Miracle Food Mart, where he started out as a store clerk. He was quickly scouted for a management trainee program. Through the years he held a number of senior positions, culminating in Group Vice ABOUT LES MANN • Joined Walmart in 2002, as National Food Manager. • Oversaw the introduction of Walmart supercentres in Ontario in 2006. Today the company operates more than 200 Supercentres in 6 provinces. • Began his career at Steinberg/Miracle Food Mart, where he progressed from grocery clerk to Group Vice President and General Manager. • Prior to joining Walmart, spent ten years as Senior Vice President at Sobey’s working five years in the wholesale business and another five years in the retail business in Ontario. • Serves on the Retail Council of Canada Grocery Division Board. • Served as Vice Chairman and board member of the former Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors and the executive board of the Food Industry Association of Canada. 18 | canadian retailer | holiday 2012 | www.retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer http://www.retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - November/December 2012

PUBLISHER’S DESK
SHOP TALK
FIGHTING FOR RETAILERS; ENSURING THE STRENGTH OF THE INDUSTRY
DIGITAL COMMERCE “GAME CHANGERS” & INNOVATORS
LES MANN: BUILDING A LASTING GROCERY LEGACY
CURRENCY CHANGE
RETAILER’S GUIDE
RETAIL WEST: KNOWING YOUR CUSTOMER AND GROWING YOUR BUSINESS
CREATING THE FUTURE TO PROTECT IT
RETAIL’S 2012 GAME CHANGERS
ADVERTISERS’ INDEX
RETAIL BY THE NUMBERS

Canadian Retailer - November/December 2012

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