By Nandita Bose
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Target Corp <TGT.N> said on Wednesday its grocery chief is stepping down, as the retailer struggles to overhaul a key business and attract more shoppers to visit its grocery aisles.
Anne Dament will leave the company on Nov. 18, less than eighteen months after she was appointed and tasked with turning around the grocery business, which accounts for a fifth or about $18.5 billion of Target's overall sales.
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This is the third high-profile exit at Target in less than four months. In September, the Minneapolis-based retailer's chief digital officer Jason Goldberger left the company, a month after Target's chief marketing officer Jeff Jones left to join Uber Technologies [UBER.UL].
Revamping the grocery business and making the sixth-largest U.S. retailer a more compelling destination for groceries has been a key priority for Chief Executive Brian Cornell who took over in 2014.
Since then Target has added more healthy, organic and gluten-free items in an effort to attract millennial shoppers, improved its store design and made leadership changes in the business.
But despite these efforts, grocery sales during the second quarter fell with Target reporting its first quarterly drop in comparable sales in two years. The company lowered its forecast for the rest of the year, saying it expects sales to be flat to down 2 percent in the two remaining quarters.
Target's sales have suffered as shoppers increasingly use online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O> and focus their spending on big-ticket items like cars and home renovations rather than small discretionary purchases.
Target spokeswoman Katie Boylan said the retailer will conduct a "comprehensive search" both internally and externally for Dament's replacement.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose)