Appearing at number 21 on this year’s ranking of the 50 most powerful people in the food industry is Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel. Compiled by Supermarket News, Steinhafel is probably ranked about where he should be considering the company’s position in the hierarchy of food retailers and other people in positions of power whose actions influence impacts the food universe. Click here to view the list.
Just a few years ago, no one from Target belonged on the list, or if they did it was toward the bottom, as Target was a non-factor in food. The company had several hundred Super Target stores on the street, but they concept wasn’t being expanded in a meaningful way. Enter the PFresh format and everything has changed in short order. Target is now a major force in food retailing and not for reasons that are readily apparent based solely on the breakneck pace at which stores are being remodeled. Roughly 350 stores received the PFresh treatment last year and another 380 get an upgrade this year which certainly adds to the company’s sales volume and disrupts the competitive set in markets with a meaningful number of remodels.
However, a potentially bigger impact relates to how the addition of fresh food and expanded grocery items increases the overlap between the merchandise mix at Target and Walmart. This means the company’s longstanding practice of being within a few percentage points of Walmart on price now extends to an even broader range of products and conventional grocers have to concern themselves with more than one company focused on offering shopping unbeatable prices.