- As Target comes off a holiday high, it's also switching up its leadership. Most notably, CFO Cathy Smith will retire from the company once her successor is named, then move into an advisory role until May 2020, according to a company press release.
- Stephanie Lundquist, who has served as Target's chief HR officer since 2016, has been named president of food and beverage. Taking over her previous role is Melissa Kremer, who was previously a senior vice president of HR.
- Other appointments, effective immediately, include: CIO Mike McNamara, who will now lead the enterprise data analytics and business intelligence team; Chief Marketing Officer Rick Gomez, who will become the chief marketing and digital officer; and SVP of Communications Katie Boylan, who will lead as chief communications officer.
Over the last two years, Target has aggressively invested in its store operations to fuel digital growth and its grocery unit, and that's paying off — especially at the holidays.
This week, the mass merchant reported what are likely to be some of the strongest holiday sales numbers among its peers. Comparable sales rose 5.7% during the November and December period, which marks a total 9% growth over the last two years. Overall, the retailer ranked better than both Walmart and Kroger when it came to offering a seamless grocery shopping experience in-store and online, according to a Brick Meets Click assessment.
Last year, Target sharpened its plan for growth, focusing in on the rollout of new private label lines, more small-format stores and greater convenience in delivery options through its Shipt platform. Store Pickup and Drive Up programs made up 25% of digital sales during the November and December holiday period — a major win in the eyes of CEO Brian Cornell. "This performance demonstrates the benefit of placing our stores at the center of every way we serve our guests, including both in-store shopping and digital fulfillment," he said in a statement regarding the results.
While comps grew in all five of the company's core merchandise categories, grocery is still an area for improvement that Lundquist will be tasked with maturing in her new role. In an interview on the company's Bullseye Blog, Lundquist said she's encouraged by the strong foundation the company has put in place in growing the category and will focus on enhancing behind-the-scenes operations to make things easier for shoppers. The retailer has been working to expand its food and beverage offerings including more prepared foods and fresh produce. Its growth strategy will start with the formation of a new team of "key players from across the organization," she said. Together, they will focus on adding to existing fulfillment options and new brand development.
"We have incredible expertise supporting this area of the business, and I’m excited to propel that forward," she said. But whether or not her expertise as chief HR officer could help Target's grocery business, is up in the air.