Casey Carl, Target’s chief innovation officer, will be leaving the company in May, Fortune reports. This marks the latest in a string of high-level executives to leave Target — it lost its chief marketing and chief digital officers in recent months, as well as the head of its grocery division.
The move also comes after Target pledged $7 billion to overhaul its in-store experience and e-commerce operations over the next three years. Target wants to grow its online sales quickly, as its comparable store sales have fallen for three straight quarters. It had $3.1 billion in online sales last year, but they still make up less than 5% of the company’s top line.
Target’s CEO said the company would look for a replacement to help lead its innovation initiatives going forward, but those efforts could be threatened by tightening budgets. The company is planning to open a new high-tech store in San Francisco, and has an ongoing collaboration with startup incubator Techstars to mentor retail tech startups. Such efforts could help inform the company’s strategy to reshape its in-store and online experiences. However, as Target is upping its investments in innovation, it's also driving down prices to compete with Walmart, which could squeeze the company’s budget for new projects. Additionally, its innovation efforts could be hamstrung if it continues to lose top brass at its current pace.
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