Malene Hanson

Category D: (International), Finalist

Malene Hansen

SPAR International
Haderup, Denmark

As a new, local bypass was being constructed that would divert customers away from her Denmark-based store, manager and second-generation operator Malene Hansen was busy thinking of her own new route to success.

A 2019 trip to SPAR stores in the Netherlands provided inspiration for Hansen as she made plans to redevelop and reposition the location she manages in Haderup. Among other changes, she added 1,185 square feet or 110 square meters to the store and extended the fruit and vegetable department and convenience and delicacy section, which led to a greater assortment of products within expanded sections. Ultimately, the store conversion led to an 11.7% jump in sales from 2019 to 2020 and higher indexes across departments. Already known as a pioneer in SPAR Denmark, Hansen successfully pursued election to the organization’s supply chain committee in 2020.

While she executed a new vision at her store, Hansen also clearly saw the importance of engaging team members and customers in creative ways. For example, she set up a social media Snapchat group through which employees kept track of their performance and accessed daily turnover figures. When there were noticeable fluctuations, she talked about results with employees to make improvements or celebrate achievements, as part of her overall style of inclusive, transparent management.

For shoppers, Hansen also leveraged Facebook to highlight the value of shopping and buying local foods. On a daily basis, Hansen interacts with in-person and online customers to improve offerings, whether it’s product assortment, feedback on the store redesign or ideas for cooking and preparing foods. One of her effective programs was a gourmet customer evening, where a Michelin chef created a three-course menu featuring local goods. The event sold out in less than a week.

Hansen is an active and visible part of the Haderup community, sharing time and donations with local organizations and charities and giving presentations to school groups on improving sustainability and reducing food waste. Another priority for this manager is elevating her industry by fostering the development and training of young merchants in the SPAR chain, including serving as a mentor and teaching more about grocery education. You might say that her route to success is also full circle.

“Malene has great passion for SPAR, retailing, achieving goals and being present. She prioritizes and cherishes the inclusive community in her own store and across SPAR stores in Denmark.” Nominator Jutta Klassen, international HR & training manager, SPAR International