Brief

Target grocery chief departs after 18 months

Dive Brief:

  • Anne Dament, the executive in charge of Target's struggling grocery business, is leaving the company after only a year and a half on the job, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports

  • Dament, who worked closely with CEO Brian Cornell at Safeway during his tenure there as CMO, was appointed to head up Target’s grocery business in April 2015. 

  • Target confirmed Dament's exit but did not disclose additional details on the move beyond stating her last day will be Nov. 18. Mark Tritton, Target's chief merchandising officer, will assume Dament's responsibilities while the retailer searches for a replacement.

Dive Insight:

Target is experiencing food perishables losses higher than the industry average and is struggling to pinpoint how to present its grocery business to its customers.

In an effort to revive sales, Target is reportedly assembling dedicated grocery teams ranging from 10 to 60 employees, depending on the store, teams that will receive special training to deal with packaged and fresh food and successfully interact with grocery customers. There are also plans to increase grocery promotions and marketing efforts. 

Dament was at Safeway for some 10 years and also tenured at Supervalu and ConAgra. That’s a lot of grocery experience. But Cornell recently made it clear that Target doesn’t have ambitions to rival Wal-Mart (which gets more than half its sales from its grocery operations) and other major grocers, instead aiming to be a convenient source of food for shoppers going there for other reasons, while maintaining its focus on key categories including style, baby, kids and wellness to fuel sales growth. “Groceries has never been on that list... We’ve been able to drive traffic without having a sushi chef,” Cornell said last month. 

Target has also said that it’s boosting the number of its smaller, more urban stores, and has also been working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and design firm IDEO to explore urban farming and other food-related research and to revamp food labeling

Dament is the latest in a series of high-ranking Target executives to abruptly leave the company. Jason Goldberger, the company's chief digital officer and president of Target.com, exited in late September, just weeks after Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Jones stepped down to become president of Uber.

Target will report its third quarter earnings on Nov. 18. The company reported $16.17 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2016, compared to forecasts of $16.18 billion; same-store sales decreased 1.1%, Target’s first negative same-store sales measure since the first quarter of 2014.

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Filed Under: Corporate News
Top image credit: Target Facebook