Target Taps New Grocery Chief

MINNEAPOLIS (Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS) -

Target Corp. has hired a grocery-industry veteran to help overhaul its food aisles.

The Minneapolis-based retailer picked Anne Dament, who has held executive posts at PetSmart and Safeway, to be its senior vice president of merchandising in charge of repositioning Target’s grocery department. The appointment has been much anticipated since CEO Brian Cornell has made reinventing Target’s food offerings a part of his strategy to breath new life into Target’s sales. The company has said that it was searching for an outside executive to lead in that effort since its previous grocery chief, Tim Mantel, left the company in recent months.

Cornell, who has an extensive grocery background himself as a former executive at Sam’s Club and PepsiCo, was personally involved in the search for a new executive. He worked with Dament several years ago when he was the chief marketing officer at Safeway, where she had several posts.

“Having previously worked alongside Anne, I know her industry expertise and proven ability to reinvigorate existing businesses make her the right leader to drive our reinvention,” Cornell said in a statement.

Target executives told investors last month at a meeting in New York that its grocery department has missed the mark with customers. Therefore, they are in the midst of an overhaul of its grocery department to be more differentiated that includes more organic and natural offerings. They will also focus on providing more meal solutions for families and in certain categories such as coffee, granola, better-for-you snacks and specialty candy. The company is planning to test some of those changes later this year and said it expects customers will see significant changes in stores next year.