Target plots brand relaunch to reverse decline, invests $120m in service

By Rosie Baker | 28 May 2014
Target campaign by Big Red.

After a spot of turmoil, Target plans a relaunch to revive its brand and reverse its performance. Parent group Wesfarmers presented a strategy update to analysts today outlining more focus on brand marketing, data and digital across its Coles, Kmart and Bunnings brands.

The document pointed out that of Target's top 50 business leaders, 48 are either new to the business this year or about to start. Marketing director Phil Wade is one of them.

That much flux in the upper echelons of a business signifies significant change. It could point to an unsettled leadership team or the ushering in of a new era. Target managing director Stuart Machin, who joined a year ago from Coles, thinks it's the latter. He is leading the 'make Target great again' strategy addressing inconsistent pricing and promotions, off-trend product ranges and poor customer experience.

Target reported a 4.8% fall in sales in its third quarter update in April and is taking steps to reverse its downward trend. Machin thinks he now has the management team in place to tackle it.

Phil Wade, who oversees marketing as well as ecommerce, joined in December following the appointment and subsequent swift exit of Lee Applbaum. Applbaum came in to replace veteran Wesfarmer's marketer Murray Chenery who exited two years ago. Now with his feet under the desk, Wade is leading the relaunch of the Target brand and its Designers for Target fashion ranges. It will be revealed “soon” and Target is currently on the hunt for a creative agency to help with the task.

Target said today it would invest $120 million improving service over the next four years, develop new store formats and and refresh stores and point of sale. It added that it would have an integrated bricks and clicks model in place by 2018.

Marketing will focus on stronger messaging on product fashion, style, quality and price and stronger awareness messaging, according to the statement.

Target will also reduce its product range SKUs by 40% in the next two years, focusing on those with the highest margins. Currently 80% of sales come from its top 200 SKUs.

Other take outs from the Wesfarmers strategy update include:

On the cards at Coles:

Become a trusted price leader

Further reduce cost of the weekly shopping basket

Continue strong promotions

Drive targeted marketing with flybuys and customer insights

Utilise multiple targeted marketing channels

Strengthen local area marketing

On the cards at Kmart:

Development of online offer

Tactical marketing

Expansion of growth categories; Party, Sport & Living, Home Decor

Opening more Kmart stores

Accelerate refurbishment program

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