Target Corp. has hired two senior leaders from Walmart and General Mills to help it improve one of the major weakness in its stores: groceries.
The new hires, who will focus on improving Target's prepared foods and private-label brands, were among a flurry of announcements on Monday from the Minneapolis-based retailer as it prepares to report its second-quarter earnings on Wednesday.
Liz Nordlie, who has worked across town at General Mills for 20 years, most recently as the president of its baking division, will be Target's vice president of product design and development in food and beverage. In the newly created role, she will focus on Target's private label brands in food, which currently include Archer Farms and Market Pantry. She will report to Julie Guggemos, Target's senior vice president of product design and development.
Target is in the midst of launching a dozen new brands over the next 18 months as it looks to further differentiate and improve its offerings, phasing out some longtime brands in the process such as Merona and Mossimo. Mark Tritton, Target's chief merchandising officer, told the Star Tribune recently that the new brands will also be in other categories outside of home and apparel.
Mark Kenny, who was in charge of private labels in deli and bakery at Walmart, is joining Target as a vice president in charge of meat, seafood, deli, bakery and prepared foods. Prepared foods, which have been a growing trend in the grocery market, has been an area of increasing focus for Target as it looks to add more grab-and-go items to its fresh foods area.
Kenny will report to Jeff Burt, who Target hired earlier this year from Fred Meyer (part of Kroger) to be its grocery chief after its previous leader in that space, Anne Dament, left the company last fall after just 18 months into the job. (Dament now works at Supervalu.)
“We have been making positive progress with our assortment, presentation and operations in food and beverage this year," Tritton said in a statement. "With Jeff Burt’s leadership, and the investment we’re making to bring on two new seasoned executives, combined with our already talented team, I’m confident we’ll be able to go even further, faster, delivering both an experience and assortment that’s uniquely Target.”