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    PG Explores Target's Food Turnaround with SVP Anne Dament

    A convo with the chief architect of retailer's food biz

    By Meg Major, EnsembleIQ
    “Grocery is a critical component that we’re working to leverage as part of Target’s overall strategy,” affirms SVP Anne Dament.

    Editor's Note: This is the first of a two-part Progressive Grocer exclusive interview with Target Corp.’s SVP of Merchandising Anne Dament. The full interview appears in PG's August 2016 print issue.

    Target Corp.’s recently hired SVP of merchandising, Anne Dament, is in the bull’s eye of the 1,800-store retailer’s bold campaign to convert the full potential of its estimated $20 billion grocery business into an inspired destination in line with other parts of its stores.

    Settling into her still-new role of leading the strategic repositioning of the Minneapolis-based national retailer’s food business to make it more reflective of its widely admired flagship brand, Dament is decidedly up for the task.

    “My very first job was in a local grocery store, and I’ve had a passion for food ever since,” affirms Dament, who relished the opportunity to bring her professional experience and love of the retail food business to Target as its grocery segment transformation got underway.

    Charged with leading Target’s food business makeover – which has included item-by-item tear-downs and overhauled processes and practices to enhance freshness, assortment and convenience – Dament says she’s pumped about the opportunities to elevate the company’s gastronomic cred to destination levels.

    The key categories factoring most prominently in her agenda include better-for-you snacks, coffee and tea, premium sauces and oils, specialty candy, wine and craft beer, and yogurt and granola. Concurrently, she and her team are nurturing the expansion of purely natural, organic, locally grown and gluten-free choices; healthy meal solutions; exclusive partnerships; and unique selections for both everyday and special occasions.

    Early results of her team’s efforts have thus far been promising, as evidenced by Target’s food segment outpacing its overall business in the back half of last year. Meanwhile, momentum continues to accelerate amid a companion menu of other large-scale initiatives that Dament is overseeing to elevate and solidify shopper affinity for the retailer’s food offerings.

    Maximizing Target’s Food Segment

    Recently chosen as a 2016 Top Women in Grocery – a first-time showing for Target on PGs national list of female food industry movers and shakers – Dament began her 20-year grocery and CPG career as a buyer at Minneapolis-based Supervalu. She next moved on to Safeway, where she held various category and sales management roles, and later led the Pleasanton, Calif.-based supermarket chain’s homecare and general merchandising business operations, focusing closely on the retailer’s global procurement strategies. In her final role at Safeway, Dament was group VP of perishables, where she orchestrated new assortment and merchandising strategies, including meal solutions and grab-and-go options.

    Returning to Minnesota in April 2015 to join Target from PetSmart, where her most recent role was VP of services, Dament also worked at ConAgra Foods’ Grist Mill Co. subsidiary and Otis Spunkmeyer.

    “From a business perspective, grocery is a critical component that we’re working to leverage as part of Target’s overall strategy,” says Dament. As the company’s largest individual business unit, accounting for one-quarter of its total sales, Target’s food segment “represents more than half of our total transactions,” she notes.

    To gain a better understanding of both its grocery business and customer profiles, Dament has spent the past year unpacking and digesting insights revealed in “significant deep dives across our entire business, inclusive of assortment, quality, produce, perishables and center store,” alongside “very deep dives” into guest preferences, whose shared feedback “is a critical component as we shape our strategy.”

    By Meg Major, EnsembleIQ
    • About Meg Major Veteran supermarket industry journalist Meg Major brings a wealth of experience to her role as Chief Content Editor of Progressive Grocer. In addition to her editorial duties, Major also spearheads the retail food industry’s premier women’s leadership recognition platform, Top Women in Grocery. Follow her on Twitter at @Meg_Major, connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/megmajor, or email her at [email protected]

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