A portrait of Target Chief Merchandising Officer Mark Tritton

Q&A with Mark Tritton, Target’s New Chief Merchandising Officer

After searching for nearly a year—finding the right chemistry is oh-so important—earlier today we announced that Mark Tritton will be joining the Target team as our new chief merchandising officer. Over the years, Mark has worked with some pretty impressive brands, including Nike, Timberland and, most recently, Nordstrom, so it’s fair to say he’s got the chops to help deliver for our guests now and into the future.

Mark doesn’t officially start until June 5, but we couldn’t resist throwing a few questions his way. Read on to learn a little more about Mark.

You’ve been working in retail for nearly three decades. How’d you get your start and what keeps you going?

I got my first job when I was 15 at a supermarket in Australia, where I grew up. I loved it instantly. When I turned 16, I went to work at a department store. I thought the change would give me an opportunity to develop new skills, and I continued to work in retail as I put myself through college. I graduated with a degree in education, but I couldn’t shake my passion for retail, so that’s where I’ve remained. The journey started early, but what got into my veins back when I was 15 remains just as strong today: the satisfaction that comes when you meet a customer’s needs, the thrill of seeing the daily sales, and the sense of family that you build working as a team. For me, nothing could ever match the rewards that retail offers.

Digital is one of the hottest topics for most retailers. What are your thoughts on the role of digital in this quickly evolving landscape?

Digital has never been more important for retailers. But it comes back to being genuinely curious about your guest. You have to listen to your guests, learn from your guests and be willing to respond. Today’s consumer is shopping however and whenever they want, and speed and convenience are the price of admission. Our job is to support them, providing great products and great access. And we need to recognize that our job is never done. As a retailer, you have to be willing to constantly evolve. That’s how you win with your guest.

You were raised in Australia, spent some time in Portland, and, most recently lived in Seattle. Now you’re making the move to Minneapolis. Any early impressions?

I’ve heard about the winters in Minnesota, and, to be honest, during one of my trips in April there was a snowstorm. I wasn’t scared away, so I know this is the right job for me. My family and I (Mark and his wife have three kids) have always loved adventures. We’ve lived in different cities, in different states, in different countries. We like to consider ourselves journey takers. For us, the Midwest was a bit unknown, and there’s an excitement to that – a curiosity that we get to explore. My wife and I have been so impressed with the genuine nature and generosity of the Minnesotans we’ve met. We can’t wait to get settled and meet new friends.

Your first day is fast approaching. What’s your top priority once you get settled?

You have to move quickly in retail, or you risk being left behind. But my first priority when I get to Target is actually to go a bit slower. Target has a clear strategy in place, and that strategy is working, and there’s no shortage of talent at the company. So my first task is to listen and learn. Then, it’s off to the races, and I plan to work with the team to identify new ways to engage and inspire our guests, further igniting the power of this iconic brand.

 

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