Target's new management is under pressure to stem the discount retailer's earnings slide by the end of the year.
"I would expect to be seeing some positive signs from the business late in this calendar year, certainly in the next," Wesfarmers chief executive Richard Goyder told WestBusiness. "I'm very confident about that."
With the chain on notice since Stuart Machin replaced Dene Rogers as chief executive in April after just 18 months, Target is under heightened investor scrutiny in the lead-up to Wesfarmers' interim profits in February.
"The stores look better, they've been tightened up, there's less product, less clutter, but there's still a lot to do," Mr Goyder said.
Any initial benefits from Mr Machin's recovery strategy, however, are being undermined by the usual Spring discounting of winter inventory and weak consumer confidence.
With the demands of the Coles turnaround now less urgent, Mr Goyder has been allowed to devote more time to both Target and broader group issues. But he insisted Wesfarmers remained focused on ensuring Coles maintained its momentum and continued to close the gap on its bigger rival.
"You only have to look at Woolworths' results to realise we have a long way to go," he said. "There's still a gap between Coles and Woolworths."
He was also mindful of growing competition from global giant Aldi, which plans to open its first stores in WA within two years.
"People who talk about a supermarket duopoly are kidding themselves," Mr Goyder said. "Aldi is the one supermarkets business to have significantly increased its market share in the past five years. They are a viable and strong competitor."
Mr Goyder said also he hoped Saturday's Federal election would deliver a government "that sets down policy positions which support business generating wealth"."Sometimes I think there is an assumption that business is always profitable and you don't have to do anything to support business, but you do," he said.