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  • Jackie Gibney, President - Jacobs

The Right Partnership with Target


Last month, Target posted outstanding numbers for Q1 and is succeeding in both channels of digital and brick and mortar. Coming off a strong fiscal 2018, the question out there was will this growth continue and the answer was a strong “yes!” Comp sales came in at 4.8% (+42% digital sales) for the quarter and guest traffic increased by 4.3% in store.

Behind the numbers, you and I both know there are strong partnerships and hard work that our teams our executing every single day. The heroes behind Target’s success are the merchants and the sales teams. Spring was one of the busiest times for all of us with a majority of our categories in line reviews. I want to thank everyone involved who rolled up their sleeves, dug into the data, and took every opportunity to ask “what can we be doing better?”

Coming out of line reviews, I had the chance to chat with Erin McGinn (Director) about what makes our partnership so powerful. She discussed great advice that our vendors and teams can do to ensure the momentum at Target continues through 2019 and beyond. Here is what she shared and what we can focus on that will save Target and vendors time, drive business solutions, and create sustainable growth:

  • Keep margin top of mind – do your homework on margin before line reviews and key meetings by plugging away at it consistently versus waiting until Target tells you there’s a problem and it’s a fire drill to try and fix it.

  • Be thoughtful about your assortment – Always ask what is the reason for being at Target? Why are you introducing a new item or collection and why do you see it working? How is it differentiated for Target?

  • Digital, digital, digital – have a strong plan around digital. Know how your penetration rate compares to the category and what are your goals and building blocks to increase penetration? Are you doing the basics and more? Actively share this strategy consistently and wins/opportunities with your merchant partners.

  • Be proactive around tariffs – What’s your solution to keep retails in check and limit the cost increases to Target? Can you shift your factory strategy? Based on your factory positioning, are there businesses you want to bid for knowing Target is looking for options right now?

  • Opportunities in Owned Brand - Target continues to expand owned brands. Owned brand is about creating brands for Target, not just supplying “private label” product and this gives us new opportunities for business growth. Let’s find those opportunities, ask questions, and collaborate together.

  • How can you continue to invest in your Target business? – It is competitive out there. What are you doing to drive sales for Target and show them they are important to you and your overall business? First, remember it’s digital, digital, digital from the guest perspective and the Target merchants. How are you driving guests into the Target experience?

  • Execution is crucial– everyone is going a million miles a minute. Continue to nail the basics such as shipping on time and complete, staying instock, proactively communicating any issues and coming with problem solving ideas, and find a way to maximize sales through getting into the data.

We know these aren’t new ideas, but these are the themes we hear in every meeting, so let’s deliver on them.


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