Dollar General is considering both internal candidates and outside hires to replace executive vice president and chief merchandising officer James Thorpe, who will retire on April 15.

Thorpe had previously retired from the retailer as senior vp and merchandise manager in 2012, having held that position for six years, but returned to Dollar General in his current position in 2015. Thorpe has also held merchandising leadership roles at Sears Holdings and worked in marketing at Zenith Data Systems and Maxima.

“[Thorpe]’s strong understanding of our core customer and passion for our business have been instrumental in driving innovation in our merchandising initiatives,” Dollar General chief executive officer Todd Vasos said in a media release. “When [Thorpe] rejoined the company in 2015, we agreed upon a clear set of objectives for his tenure as cmo. As I knew he would, [Thorpe] has delivered on the merchandising strategies we identified as our highest priorities. I’m grateful for his contributions and wish [Thorpe] and his family the best in the future.”

The news coincided with the release of Dollar General's financial results for the fourth quarter of 2016, which ended on Feb. 3. In a March 16 earnings call, Vasos announced several new merchandising initiatives:

  • The retailer is remodeling 300 stores to have 34 cooler doors, a 160% increase from their current count, in hopes that the expanded perishables selection will build baskets and increase trips. One third of those locations will also stock fresh produce.
  • Stores that have fewer than 10 cooler doors will be remodeled, with the goal of increasing the average to 17 at all of the retailer's stores.
  • The health and beauty department at some stores will be redesigned to boost awareness and conversion. Dollar General's share of wallet for those categories is half the amount it has for paper and cleaning products, so the retailer sees health and beauty as a major growth opportunity.