Anne Dament Leaving Target

Nearly two years after she joined Target Corp. as SVP of merchandising to lead its grocery business, Anne Dament is leaving the Minneapolis-based company amid the continuing lackluster performance in her division, a key section of the store that generates $18.5 billion in annual sales.

Dament’s last day with the 1,880-store Minneapolis-based chain is Nov. 18, according to local media reports. The retailer’s Chief Merchandising Officer, Mark Tritton, is assuming her duties in the interim, and a search for her replacement, which will include internal and external candidates, will begin shortly. Target didn’t provide a reason for her departure, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which quoted Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough as saying the move was unexpected, although indicative of Target’s struggle to turn its grocery business around.

“There’s a little bit of surprise because this was [Target CEO Brian] Cornell’s person,” said Yarbrough. “But on the other hand, the results on the grocery side have not been good.”

As Target’s search for a new grocery leader got underway, Yarbrough speculated on the possibility that the company might alter its strategy.

"They’re just in a really tough spot,” he added. “They don’t have enough groceries to drive people to the store regularly. Groceries for Target never turned out to be a destination like they thought it would be.”

Recently chosen as a 2016 Top Women in Grocery – a first-time showing for Target on PG's national list of female food industry movers and shakers – Dament, the subject of a recent Progressive Grocer profile, began her 20-year grocery and CPG career as a buyer at Minneapolis-based Supervalu. She next moved on to Safeway, where she held various category and sales management roles, and later led the Pleasanton, Calif.-based supermarket chain’s homecare and general merchandising business operations, focusing closely on the retailer’s global procurement strategies. In her final role at Safeway, Dament was group VP of perishables, in which capacity she orchestrated new assortment and merchandising strategies, including meal solutions and grab-and-go options.

Returning to Minnesota in April 2015 to join Target from PetSmart, where her most recent role was VP of services, Dament also worked at ConAgra Foods’ Grist Mill Co. subsidiary and at Otis Spunkmeyer.

“From a business perspective, grocery is a critical component that we’re working to leverage as part of Target’s overall strategy,” Dament told PG. As the company’s largest individual business unit, accounting for one-quarter of its total sales, Target’s food segment “represents more than half of our total transactions,” she noted.

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