Target CEO Brian Cornell has rounded out his top team with the appointment of Nordstrom merchandiser Mark Tritton as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, the company said Tuesday.
Tritton is filling the shoes of long-time Target merchandise chief Kathee Tesija, who left nearly a year ago after 30 years at the company. His duties will include overseeing enterprise buying, product design and development, sourcing, visual merchandising strategy, and merchandising transformation and operations.
Target also announced that Jason Goldberger, who joined Target three years ago after leadership positions at Gilt Groupe, Hayneedle.com, and Amazon, will assume the newly created role of chief digital officer and president, Target.com. Both appointments are effective June 5.
Under Tritton, Nordstrom doubled its private-label business, and his arrival at Target will be key for the big-box retailer as it battles to regain its cachet as a discount retailer with designer panache.
"Target and big box retail peers are in a dogfight with Amazon for the hearts, minds and wallets of the U.S. consumer," Greg Melich, an analyst at research firm Evercore, wrote in a note Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. "Adding Mark solidifies Target's leadership and should aid in their efforts to develop differentiated apparel offerings over time.”
Target, after losing much of the allure it had fashioned through collaborations with designers and an emphasis on "cheap chic," has rebounded somewhat since Cornell's arrival. Tritton, who will be heading up Target's merchandising efforts as well as its store approach, will be key to continuing that revival.
"Target is just now getting its own mojo back after frittering it away over the last seven or so years, which is to say they were focused, importantly, on interesting, well differentiated goods in addition to having the everyday things that people shop for every day," Columbia University business school retail studies professor Mark Cohen told Retail Dive earlier this year.
Tritton's departure from Nordstrom is also a loss for that retailer, which, while it seemed to be immune from many of the troubles besetting department stores, has recently experienced a fall-off in traffic, pressures to discount heavily, and challenges to its margin in apparel sales.