New Target CEO Promises To Not Turn Retailer Into A Grocery Store

Several years back, we started hearing complaints from Target shoppers that their local stores were eschewing large chunks of floor space that had been dedicated to things like home furnishings and housewares in order to make room for more groceries. Many expressed concern that their beloved quirky-but-affordable retailer was going to become a supermarket chain that also sold towels and sweatpants. The company’s new CEO is now trying to convince those worried customers that Target is not undergoing some radical shift.

“I’m not going to turn Target into a grocery store,” Brian Cornell, who just took over the gig a few days ago, tells the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “Style, fashion, apparel, it’s core to the DNA of this company.”

Cornell, who coincidentally earned his stripes as an exec at food-oriented businesses like Safeway and PepsiCo, is the first Target CEO to come from outside the company.

Some might think that, being the new guy, he’d be eager to prove his worth by introducing sweeping changes right from the start, but Cornell doesn’t appear to be in any rush.

“I wouldn’t expect any changes in the next few months,” he explains. “I’m going to take my time to learn, to be really thoughtful. I’m going to spend a lot of time listening… I’m going to be a really good student over the next few months.”

Translated, that seems to mean let’s just get through this holiday shopping season without a hugely embarrassing incident like last year, and then we can figure things out.

If Target can make it through the rest of the year without the website issues or credit card hacks that plagued its last few holiday seasons, that would probably be seen as a huge triumph.