With consumers still spending most of their time at home due to the pandemic, Target Corp. is making sure that they have everything they need by hiring new leadership for its home category. Samara Tuchband will be joining the retailer on May 3 as SVP of merchandising, home.
Reporting to Jill Sando, Target’s EVP and chief merchandising officer, Tuchband will oversee the merchandising and omnichannel business for the home category, including decorative home, stationery, home textiles, kitchen, storage and seasonal. In this role, she will help execute and advance Target’s home strategy, which is centered on defining a differentiated guest experience through a curated assortment of quality owned-brand and national-brand products at competitive prices.
“Samara brings a deep understanding and strong reputation for driving digital and merchandising success within the home category,” said Sando. “At a time when home is more important than ever to our guests, Samara’s passion for creating memorable consumer experiences will strengthen our home business and enhance our commitment to bringing joy to our guests’ everyday lives.”
Tuchband joins Target with nearly two decades of merchandising and marketing experience in the home and lifestyle categories, having recently been VP of merchandising and head of diversity and inclusion at Northbrook, Ill.-based Crate and Barrel Holdings Inc. In this role, Tuchband led the overall strategy and execution of product assortment and pricing for the brand across in-store and online channels. Under her leadership, kitchen and entertaining delivered double-digit growth, and she led the creation and implementation of new tools and resources for improved diversity and inclusion efforts across the company. Tuchband was also general manager, digital home for The Home Depot, based in Atlanta, where she drove strong growth focused on digital expansion into the home décor market.
The pandemic has fueled ongoing demand for housewares products, with families still preparing more meals at home and thus creating opportunities for grocers to augment and tailor their kitchen category to become more competitive. Doing so requires some creative thinking with merchandising., however. This is where Tuchband’s experience will be particularly valuable for Target.
Chicago-based market research firm IRI registered gains in multiple housewares categories in the food retail channel for the 52-week period ended Dec. 27, 2020. In the household plastics category, sales increased 13.9% and units increased 3.2%. The stovetop cookware segment saw a 28.9% advance in dollar sales and a 16.6% increase in unit sales. The nonelectric kitchen tool segment saw a 26.4% advance in dollar sales and a 13.1% increase in unit sales. Drinkware experienced a 21.4% increase in dollar sales and a 1% gain in unit sales.
Decorative home is another category that has fared well for food retailers during the pandemic. For instance, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer recently reported that with the switch to work-from-home and learn-from-home lifestyles, shoppers turned to decorative pillows and candles to enhance their workspaces, and purchased more thermal curtains and weighted blankets for comfort.
“I have been a Target guest for decades and have long admired the brand’s commitment to the democratization of design,” noted Tuchband. “I am thrilled to join an inspiring team of leaders and am looking forward to continuing to offer guests incredible design, style inspiration and new omnichannel shopping experiences every day.”
For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, Target's same-store sales increased 20.5%, consisting of 6.9% growth at physical stores and 118% digital growth. Average ticket grew 13.1%. The company said that 12 million more guests became multichannel shoppers during its fourth quarter.
Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is No. 7 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, with more than 1,900 locations. Meijer, with more than 250 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin, is No. 19 on PG's list.