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The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports that Target has hired Jeff Burt, most recently the most recently president of Kroger-owned Fred Meyer, to be its new senior vice president of grocery, fresh food and beverage.

This is the second time in two years that Target has turned to a supermarket industry veteran to help it revive its flagging food business. In April 2015, it hired Anne Dament, a former group vice president for perishable strategy at Safeway, to revamp the company's food business as Senior Vice President, Merchandising. However, she only lasted about a year and a half, and departed after less than stellar reviews of her efforts.

The Journal writes that "Target is still struggling to find the identity for its grocery business, which accounts for about a fifth of its sales. A decline in shopper traffic has made stocking and distributing fresh food tricky for the retailer. Target's grocery offerings also often fall short of grocery stores like a Cub Foods, or even its chief rival Walmart Inc."
KC's View:
This is tough, and Jeff Burt has a tough job ahead of him. The question that needs to be answered is whether Target is nimble enough to accept real change. It is hard to create change in any environment, in part because a lot of people don't think it is needed, and a lot of other people give change a kind of lip service because they've grown too complacent. Burt has to not just get past these problems, but has to do so fast enough to satisfy internal and external constituencies ... because the competition continues to move forward.

I continue to believe that it may make more sense for Target to do in grocery what it did with CVS in HBC - create an alliance with a retail brand that will give it heightened credibility but take away the operational responsibilities. And I wonder if Burt, with his Kroger lineage, could be exactly the right person to make this happen.