Target to national food brands: Your days may be numbered

I posted a comment in April about Target’s CEO (Brian Cornell) and his intention to reposition the grocery business toward fewer “commodities” and more specialized categories. This week, Target also announced that it will be taking the spotlight off of some of the best-known national brands in the food business as part of this evolution. While Target is overall starting to deliver better results (and that may be the big picture), most RetailWire panelists agreed with my point of view on this one:

This initiative ties to the “curated” approach that Mr. Cornell announced a month ago. It provides a greater focus on categories like snacks, coffee, craft beer, etc. and less attention paid to “commodity” items. My RetailWire comment at the time — that a “Trader Joe’s” approach to the business can undermine Target’s investment in being a destination food store — certainly applies to this news as well.

If Target makes it harder, not easier, for the grocery shopper to find everything on his or her list, doesn’t that signify a retreat from its investment? At the same time, it may represent a chance to reposition the total store away from food and toward the other areas where it aspires to gain share.

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