Anne Stanchfield has been named divisional merchandise manager of entertainment, making her the retailer’s new head of music buying, Billboard has learned. Stanchfield now oversees duties previously held by John Butcher, formerly Target’s VP of entertainment, who now oversees Target’s electronics and gaming division.
Stanchfield will lead all merchandising functions for music, movies and books for Target’s 1,782 U.S. stores. A Target executive since September 2005, she most recently served as director of CityTarget, leading the launch of Target’s first small-format stores in urban markets in 2012. The company is known for rotating its buyers and merchandising managers to diversify their skillsets — Butcher had previously worked in food buying for Target and Stanchfield initially joined the company as a buyer in pet care.
Target has dipped in market share in recent years as physical album sales continue to decline – in 2011, its market share was 5.45% compared to 7.79% in 2010 and 8.14% in 2009, according to Billboard estimates. But the retailer has become increasingly powerful in partnering with music’s biggest names on exclusive deluxe editions and making a difference in first-week sales — from Taylor Swift’s Red (which became Target’s top-selling title in history last fall) to One Direction’s Take Me Home to Adele’s 21. Among the exclusive releases next on the docket for Target is Josh Groban’s All That Echoes, out Feb. 5, which will contain four deluxe bonus tracks, one of which (a cover of Neil Diamond’s “Play Me”) is completely exclusive to Target.
And with a new music exec in place, Target may have the chance to re-evaluate its digital strategy. When Butcher joined in 2010, the company ended a partnership with iTunes to focus on driving digital sales and pre-orders of physical albums on Target.com, though his bricks-and-mortar stance started to loosen during a Q&A with Billboard last fall. “For the moment, our guests see us in physical CDs — we care about serving our guests’ needs online,” he said. “We know digital is becoming increasingly more important to them, and our goal is to find a solution that will meet or exceed guests’ needs and bring that to them in the digital space.”
Stanchfield lives near Target’s Minneapolis headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., with her husband and two children, according to a new bio obtained by Billboard, and her personal musical tastes range from rock to hip-hop to country.