Amid all of the moving parts at Target Corp., one of the biggest question marks is an upcoming food makeover.
The overhaul aims to make Target’s grocery department into more of a destination instead of an afterthought. But it’s already taking longer than expected to figure out.
When executives unveiled a strategic road map in March, they set an ambitious timeline for the food overhaul, telling analysts they would roll out the most substantial changes in 2016.
Now, Target officials say they need more time to hash out and test ideas – 2017 is the new rollout time.
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“We want to get it right,” Target spokeswoman Katie Boylan said. “It’s less about how fast we go and more about making sure we implement the right kind of changes. We’re trying to be really judicious in our approach.”
Some of the questions on many analysts’ minds: How serious is Target in investing to improve its fresh produce? How far will it go in becoming a specialty grocer that focuses in organic, gluten-free and other artisanal products? And how radically different will the department look and feel?
“Everyone has the question: What the heck are they doing?” Amy Koo, an analyst with Kantar Retail, said at a recent workshop in Minneapolis. “We know they are experimenting … But I’m pretty sure their plans have not gelled yet.”
She added that if what Target comes up with drives more trips to stores, it would be a huge success. Target executives have said that if a revamped grocery department could help drive each shopper to make one more visit to a Target store every three months, it would translate to $2.5 billion in additional sales a year. Food now accounts for about $20 billion of Minneapolis-based Target’s $73 billion in annual sales.