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Several stories this morning are suggesting that for all the noise that Target has been making about achieving greater sales and relevance through an improved grocery offering, the company has no intention of providing a full-service grocery offering in its stores.

The Washington Post reports that CEO Brian Cornell made clear this week that "Target won’t be looking to solve its grocery problems by taking a page from the Whole Foods playbook and investing in flourishes such as sushi counters and rotisserie ovens that send shoppers home with prepared meals. Instead, Target will be sticking with a convenience-oriented, self-service format, centering its efforts to engage more customers on offering better product in a more appealing presentation."

And the Wall Street Journal quotes Cornell as saying, "“We’re not a grocer. We’ve been able to drive traffic without having a sushi chef.” The Journal says that Target's goal is to improve and then market improved aesthetics and product selection, "including new paint, lighting and signage, to draw back customers who have been disappointed with the company’s fresh foods ... The retailer has also been building out dedicated grocery teams and hiring regional leaders to execute strategy changes. It also plans to remodel grocery aisles in additional stores after testing out presentation changes in 25 stores in Los Angeles. Dallas is one of the next markets that will see those grocery updates."

The Post notes that Cornell's efforts to turn around Target's fortunes "have recently hit a speed bump, with the retailer reporting disappointing second-quarter earnings in August and lowering its forecast for the full year."
KC's View:
This may be Cornell's way of reducing expectations in the face of poor numbers.

But I have a broader concern about this strategy - which seems to be about simply displaying the products that everybody else sells in a nicer and more convenient environment.

I think companies establish their differential advantages with products and services that are unique to them, not the same stuff that everybody else sells. I'm just not sure that the strategy Cornell is espousing is the one that gets them to the next level of consumer acceptance.