Target Develops Dedicated Grocery Teams

Target Corp. will manage its stores’ grocery departments via dedicated teams as part of an effort to give its $20 billion grocery business, which has been experiencing lackluster sales, a shot in the arm.

No longer will grocery employees work in other parts of their stores, as Target will give them specialized training, including handling back-room inventory and customer interaction, The Wall Street Journal reported. These employees will work in teams of 10 to 60, depending on the store.

Changes have rolled out to roughly 450 stores and should appear in another 150 by next month. Target declined to discuss the program’s cost or how changes might affect worker wages.

The new approach is part of an effort “to improve … offering, better cater to … guests and drive growth,” said Katie Boylan, a Target spokeswoman. The company's move follows a decline in second-quarter grocery sales, despite efforts to improve performance. Additionally, Target's workforce now includes a regional leadership position called “grocery director” to supervise strategy, with each director overseeing food-related decisions at about 60 stores and reporting to Target’s store operations team at its Minneapolis headquarters.

Progressive Grocer recently spoke with Target’s SVP of merchandising, Anne Dament, who is central to the 1,800-store retailer’s “bold campaign” to convert the full potential of its grocery business into an inspired destination in line with other parts of its stores.

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