Target Poaches Supply Chain Guru From Amazon

Black Friday At Target Dadeland South In Miami
<> at Target Dadeland South on November 27, 2014 in Miami, Florida.
Photograph by Gustavo Caballero — Getty Images for Target

Target (TGT) isn’t kidding around with its e-commerce.

The discount retailer has poached a 16-year veteran of (AMZN) to head its supply chain and logistics as it looks to better integrate its stores with its fast-growing e-commerce operations.

Target said on Monday it had hired Arthur Valdez as its as executive vice president, chief supply chain and logistics officer, reporting to Chief Operating Officer John Mulligan. Before working at Amazon, Valdez was at general merchandise discount stores Walmart (WMT) and Sears Holdings’ Kmart (SHLD), retailers that have many similarities with Target.

The announcement comes as Target’s e-commerce growth continues to surge and the retailer makes progress in avoiding out-of-stocks. During the holiday quarter, online sales rose 34% over the previous year’s quarter, and re-accelerated after a disappointing third quarter.

Target last September said its tech infrastructure was not adequate to handle the demands of having 1,800 stores help fill online orders. This is no small matter for the retailer: if a shopper uses an app or to see whether an item is in stock at a specific store, that item needs to be there if Target says it is. Last week, Target said out-of-stock metrics were 20% better than last year.

“While we’ve made significant progress in improving our operations, Target’s growth hinges on our ability to enhance the fundamental aspects of our business, starting with the supply chain,” said Mulligan in a statement. Valdez starts his new job on March 28.


Last summer, Target hired a new chief information officer, Mike McNamara, away from British grocer Tesco, to fix unglamorous yet essential things like making disparate IT systems communicate with each other more efficiently adding tags to a product’s packaging to help the retailer keep track of the location of individual items.

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