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Target hires executives from Wal-Mart, General Mills to lead food brand efforts

Target Corp. hired two new executives to focus on its food retail operations, according to an Aug. 14 news release.

The Minneapolis-based company said Mark Kenny, a former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executive, will become a vice president in charge of divisional, meat and fresh prepared food, while Liz Nordlie, formerly of General Mills Inc., will be a vice president in charge of product design and development for food and beverage. Both will start their jobs at Target later this month, according to the statement.

"We have been making positive progress with our assortment, presentation and operations in food and beverage this year," Target Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer Mark Tritton said in the release, adding that Kenny and Nordlie are "seasoned executives."

Both Kenny and Nordlie have experience managing brands. At Wal-Mart, Kenny was senior director of private brands, deli and bakery. At Target, his duties will include managing the retailer's offering "of owned and national brands" in some food categories, the company said.

Meanwhile, Nordlie worked with several General Mills brands before serving as president of the company's baking division. Her job will include overseeing elements of Target's store brands, according to the company.

Target sells food products under private labels such as Archer Farms and Market Pantry.

Across the grocery industry, food retailers have been revamping their store-branded items as consumer demand has grown. Grocers across the U.S. are also facing expansion plans from German discount retailers Lidl and ALDI Einkauf GmbH & Co. oHG, both of which stock primarily private-label products.