Target Hires Google Exec to Lead Retail Media Company

Sarah Travis named president of Roundel, effective Sept. 13
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
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Target Hires Google Exec to Lead Retail Media Company
Sarah Travis

Target Corp. has named media pro Sarah Travis president of Roundel, the retailer’s in-house media company. Travis was previously managing director of retail at Google. In her 13 years with the Mountain View, Calif.-based tech company, she held multiple executive roles in marketing and sales.

More retailers are turning to the tech world to upgrade their talent as they look to make a bigger impact in the retail media world. Last year, The Kroger Co. hired Amazon executive Nancy Winé to lead advertising sales for its retail media advertising solution.

Target launched its own in-house media company in 2016. Two years later, to position the media company for continued growth, Target relaunched the company as Roundel. Roundel helps advertisers connect directly with Target’s guests through personalized, relevant marketing messages across Target’s owned platforms and hundreds of brand-safe, off-platform channels.

Target has invested significantly in enhancing Roundel’s products and capabilities over the past several years, including the introduction of new offerings related to programmatic advertising, closed-loop measurement and self-service performance tools. According to the retailer, the media company has consistently outpaced its revenue goals since 2019, and remains a growing and profitable segment of the retailer’s business.

“Sarah has deep media expertise and a proven track record of creating and maximizing connections between brands and their core audiences,” said Cara Sylvester, Target’s EVP and chief marketing and digital officer. “She has a clear passion for the media industry and a strong understanding of what it takes to break through in today’s incredibly dynamic environment, and I’m confident that her leadership will position Roundel for continued success.”

Travis joins the company Sept. 13, and will report to Sylvester.

“I’ve long admired Target’s ability to understand and connect with its guests in a meaningful way, including the company’s unparalleled shopping experience and its innovative approach to marketing,” said Travis. “I’m looking forward to building on Roundel’s strong foundation and working with the team to drive additional growth for Target and its many partners.”

Meanwhile, Target impressively grew its food and beverage sales during its second quarter despite the high volatility related to the pandemic and even when compared with last year's pantry-loading boost. Same-store sales at Target grew 8.9%, on top of record growth of 24.3% last year. Same-store sales growth was driven entirely by traffic to stores. Store comparable sales increased 8.7%, on top of 10.9% growth last year. Digital comparable sales grew 10%, following growth of 195% last year. Digital sales continue to be led by same-day services (Order Pickup, Drive Up and Shipt), which grew nearly 55% this year, on top of more than 270% last year. More than 95% of Target’s second-quarter sales were fulfilled by its stores.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is No. 6 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, with nearly 1,900 locations. Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 3 on The PG 100.

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