Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. has named a produce retail industry veteran to lead its perishables sales.

On Dec. 8, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based retailer appointed James Smits as vice president of perishables.

James Smits appointed Winn-Dixie’s vice president of perishables


Smits has more than 30 years of grocery experience, including working for companies such as Albertson’s, Boise, Idaho; Supervalu Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn.; H.E. Butt Grocery Co., San Antonio; and Netherlands-based Ahold NV’s Bi-Lo LLC, Greenville, S.C.

At Supervalu, Smits was group vice president of fresh food merchandising and marketing.

He started his career at H-E-B. In his 23 years at H.E. Butt, Smits was promoted to position such as vice president of produce and floral marketing and procurement and vice president of marketing and merchandising for the chain’s north Texas region.

In his new role, Smits will be in charge of all the chain’s sales and merchandising in its perishable departments and will report to Dan Portnoy, Winn-Dixie’s chief merchandising and marketing officer, according to a news release.

“I’m confident that Jim’s skills and leadership abilities will be a great asset to our team,” Dan Portnoy, Winn-Dixie’s chief merchandising and marketing officer, said in the release. “I look forward to working with him as we continue to build upon our fresh and local strategy.”

Smits was also appointed to the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association Education Foundation’s 2007-08 board of directors.

Founded in 1925, Winn-Dixie runs 515 retail stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.