- Target promoted Lisa Roath to executive vice president and chief marketing officer, according to a press release. A 17-year veteran at the retailer, Roath previously served as senior vice president of food and beverage merchandising.
- Roath will be responsible for chief marketing functions including creative, guest marketing, retail brand experience, social media, paid media and marketing strategy and operations.
- The executive's appointment, which goes into effect immediately, comes as Target has seen sales growth slowed by a sluggish economy and follows a recent controversy over how the retailer handled conservative backlash to its Pride collection.
Target has chosen to promote from within to fill its chief marketer role. During her time as senior vice president of food and beverage merchandising, Roath helped establish Target as a digital grocer, growing its annual food and beverage sales by more than $5 billion since 2019 and quadrupling the number of emerging brands in its assortment, per the press release.
“Target’s marketing has long been a key differentiator for our brand, and it plays a critical role in helping us foster meaningful connections with the millions of guests who shop with us,” Roath said in a statement.
The executive will report directly to Cara Sylvester, who served as Target's chief marketing and digital officer before her appointment to chief guest experience officer last year. Sylvester cited Roath's retail knowledge, leadership experience and connection to the brand's guests as keys to her appointment in the press release.
The appointment comes during a tenuous time for Target. The retailer's Q1 2023 sales were flat as consumers facing inflationary pressures cut back on discretionary spending in favor of necessities, with categories including beauty, household essentials and food and beverage — Roath's recent purview — offsetting softness in other categories.
Target has also seen its brand dragged into the culture wars due to a conservative backlash to its annual merchandise collection timed to Pride Month. The retailer in May pulled some items following incidents in stores that put store workers at risk, which in turn drew the ire of folks on the other side of the ideological divide. And while the fervor around the controversy has died down, marketing around Pride and other inclusive activities is likely to continue to be top of mind for Roath. Seven Republican U.S. state attorneys last week sent a letter to the retailer warning that certain Pride merchandise may violate state child protection laws.