Target’s Key Jan. Revenue Metric Tops Wall Street

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target’s reinvention plan continues.

In the latest move by new CEO Brian Cornell to reshape the retailer, the discounter said that its chief merchandising and supply chain officer is exiting her post.

The retailer said Thursday that Kathryn Tesija, who also served as executive vice president, will move temporarily to a strategic adviser role on July 6 and plans to leave the company in April 2016. The move signals how serious Cornell is in making the company more nimble and reclaiming its position as a “cheap chic” retailer.

Tesija, who joined the company in 1986, had been promoted to chief merchandising officer in 2008 and added the responsibility for the company’s sourcing in 2012.

“During Kathee’s nearly 30-year career at Target, she has earned a reputation as an outstanding merchant and business leader who has been instrumental in Target’s growth and our recent efforts to regain our momentum,” Cornell said in a statement.

But Cornell said that over the past several months, he and Tesija had “many discussions about the business and together have decided that it is the right time for her to transition to an advisory role.”

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, Target said that Tesija will continue to receive her current base salary through April 1, 2016.

Target spokeswoman Dustee Jenkins said that Target just started a search for her replacement and will be considering both internal and external candidates. It has hired global recruiting firm Spencer Stuart.

Target has faced uneven sales growth since the Great Recession. Its expansion into basic groceries during the downturn helped to bring in shoppers but it diluted its focus of being a style purveyor.

Under Cornell, who joined the company last August and is a former PepsiCo and Wal-Mart executive, Target is emphasizing areas like fashion, children’s products and home furnishings. It is also bringing more organic, natural, gluten-free and locally produced food into its grocery sections.

Cornell has also been making other big changes. Last week, the discounter announced that it was selling its pharmacy and clinic businesses to drugstore chain CVS Health for about $1.9 billion. Target customers will gain access to CVS Health Corp.’s pharmacy care programs that help them manage their prescriptions, find low-cost generic drugs and buy specialty medications.

Earlier this year, Target closed the money-losing Canadian operations.

Its shares rose 16 cents to finish at $84.50. Its shares are up 45 percent over the past year.

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