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Target picks Nordstrom executive as chief merchandising officer

In this Wednesday, March 2, 2016, file photo, Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell speaks to a group of investors at the company’s annual meeting in New York. Target says it has named Mark Tritton, who was an executive vice president of Nordstrom, to be its next chief merchandizing officer. (Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)
In this Wednesday, March 2, 2016, file photo, Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell speaks to a group of investors at the company’s annual meeting in New York. Target says it has named Mark Tritton, who was an executive vice president of Nordstrom, to be its next chief merchandizing officer. (Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)
By Anne D’Innocenzio Associated Press

NEW YORK – Target has poached a Nordstrom executive for its new chief merchandising officer, a crucial position and the one who determines what appears on store shelves.

Mark Tritton was president of Nordstrom Product Group where he oversaw the merchandising, design, manufacturing, marketing and omnichannel distribution of more than 50 private-label brands across Nordstrom’s full-price and off-price portfolio.

The Minneapolis company on Tuesday also said that Jason Goldberger, president of Target.com, will be adding the title of chief digital officer, a new position for the chain.

Both Tritton and Goldberger will report to CEO and Chairman Brian Cornell. The appointments are effective June 5.

Tritton fills the hole left by Kathryn Tesija, who stepped aside almost a year ago and left the company this spring. She had been with Target for about 30 years.

In his new role, Tritton will oversee buying, product design and development, sourcing, visual merchandising strategy and merchandising transformation for the retailer.

During his tenure at Nordstrom Inc., Tritton and his team doubled the department store’s private-label business. Tritton also has held leadership positions at Nike and Timberland.

The appointments are the latest in a string of leadership changes spearheaded by Cornell, who came to the helm in August 2014. He has been overhauling Target’s operations in a very tough retail environment. Target is sprucing up its assortment and the presentation of its merchandise. Target is focusing on key categories like fashion, home furnishing and baby products. It’s also expanding its online services to cater to shoppers increasingly shifting their purchases online.

Target has seen rebounding sales but challenges remain, including a growing threat from Amazon.com Inc., which could topple Macy’s Inc. as the largest apparel seller next year.

“Target and big box retail peers are in a dogfight with Amazon for the hearts, minds and wallets of the U.S. consumer,” wrote Greg Melich, an analyst at research firm Evercore, in a report published Tuesday. “Adding Mark solidifies Target’s leadership and should aid in their efforts to develop differentiated apparel offerings over time.”

Target Corp. reports first-quarter earnings before the opening bell Wednesday.

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