Target just recently appointed Jeff Burt as senior vice president, grocery, fresh food and beverage. In his new role, Burt will work to facilitate Target’s company-wide food and beverage strategy.
“I’ve always admired the love that shoppers have for Target,” Burt said. “There is an opportunity to harness the power of the Target brand to more clearly cater to what consumers want when they’re shopping for food and beverage. I am eager to join the team to help fuel the work that’s under way and propel the business forward.”
Prior to his appointment at Target, Burt was the president of Kroger’s Fred Meyer division, where he was responsible for executive management of stores, fuel stations, distribution centers, manufacturing plants and 38,000 employees. All told, Burt has over 30 years of experience working at Kroger.
“I’m confident that Jeff is the right person for the charge. His vast industry expertise will accelerate our plans to bring a unique food and beverage experience to Target guests,” said Target’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, Mark Tritton, in a company statement. “He’s an enthusiastic and passionate leader with the deep knowledge in food and beverage that Target needs to build on recent progress and drive future growth.”
In the past, Target’s grocery department has struggled with losses higher than the industry average. Part of Target’s grocery strategy going forward is to counter subpar food sales by increasing marketing efforts and assembling teams of in-store food specialists. The retail chain has investigated urban farming and conducted food research with MIT. There are also reportedly plans in the works to increase its number of smaller, urban stores.
Target’s latest earnings report indicated that the retail chain is experiencing a slump in sales that is expected to carry on through the rest of 2017. Target predicts an additional comp sales slump in Q1 as well as for the full year.