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|Founded||June 24, 1902 (corporation)|
January 5, 1962 (store)
|Founders||George Dayton (corporation)|
John Geisse (store)
1000 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Number of locations
|1,904 stores (2020)|
|Products||Beauty and health products; bedding; clothing and accessories; electronics; food; furniture; jewelry; lawn and garden; pet supplies; shoes; small appliances; toys/games|
|Revenue||US$75.356 billion (2019)|
|US$4.11 billion (2019)|
|US$2.937 billion (2019)|
|Total assets||US$41.29 billion (2019)|
|Total equity||US$11.297 billion (2019)|
Number of employees
|~368,000 (2020) |
|Footnotes / references|
Target Corporation is an American retail corporation. The eighth-largest retailer in the United States, it is a component of the S&P 500 Index. Its largest competitors, Walmart and Amazon.com, are the first and second largest retailers, respectively.
Target established itself as the discount division of the Dayton's Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1962; it began expanding the store nationwide in the 1980s (as part of the Dayton-Hudson Corporation), and introduced new store formats under the Target brand in the 1990s. The company has found success as a cheap-chic player in the industry. The parent company was renamed the Target Corporation in 2000, and divested itself of its last department-store chains in 2004. It suffered from a massive and highly publicized security breach of customer credit card data and the failure of its short-lived Target Canada subsidiary in the early 2010s, but experienced revitalized success with its expansion in urban markets within the United States. As of 2019, Target operated 1,844 stores throughout the United States. The company is ranked number 37 on 2020 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue. Their retail formats include the discount store Target, the hypermarket SuperTarget, and "small-format" stores previously named CityTarget and TargetExpress before being consolidated under the Target branding.
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The first Target discount store opened in Roseville, Minnesota, on May 1, 1962. Present-day properties are roughly 135,000 square feet (12,500 m2) and sell general merchandise, including hardlines and softlines. While many Target stores follow a standard big-box architectural style, the company has focused on "customizing each new store to ensure a locally relevant experience [...] that best fit the surrounding neighborhood’s needs" since August 2006. Initially, only SuperTarget locations operated Starbucks Coffee counters, although they were integrated into general-merchandise stores through their expanded partnership beginning in 2003.
Target introduced the "PFresh" store prototype in 2006, which expanded its grocery selection in general-merchandise locations by upwards of 200%. Newly constructed stores that follow the PFresh format are roughly 1,500 square feet (140 m2) larger than properties without groceries, although retain the Target branding because their offerings are considerably more limited than SuperTarget. PFresh sells perishable and frozen foods, baked goods, meat, and dairy. The company remodeled 109 stores accordingly in 2006, and renovated another 350 stores the following year. The company's decision to close their garden centers opened floor space for PFresh expansion and larger seasonal departments beginning in 2010.
On June 15, 2015, CVS Health announced an agreement with Target to acquire all of Target's pharmacies and clinic businesses for around $1.9 billion. The Target pharmacies were rebranded as CVS Health pharmacies, which totaled 1,672 pharmacies in February 2016. The Target clinics were also rebranded as MinuteClinic. The acquisition of the Target pharmacies enabled CVS to expand its market into Seattle, Denver, Portland, and Salt Lake City.
The first Target Greatland location opened in Apple Valley, Minnesota, in September 1990. They were about 50% larger than traditional Target stores, and pioneered company standards, including an increased number of checkout lanes and price scanners, larger aisles, expanded pharmacy and photography departments, and a food court. Target Greatland locations have since been converted to stores following the PFresh format beginning in 2009.
The first SuperTarget hypermarket opened in Omaha, Nebraska in 1995, and expanded upon the Target Greatland concept with the inclusion of a full grocery department. The company expanded their grocery assortment in 2003 and adopted the modified tagline "Eat Well. Pay Less." (in reference to their tagline "Expect More. Pay Less.") in 2004. In the early 2000s, 43 locations (of nearly 100) featured E-Trade trading stations, although they were all closed by June 2003 after E-Trade determined that "we were not able to make it into a profitable distribution channel."
When comparing itself with rival Walmart Supercenter hypermarkets, then-chief executive Gregg Steinhafel opined that Walmart operates like "a grocer that happens to also sell general merchandise," where in contrast, its less aggressive expansion of SuperTarget stores is indicative of their position that the grocery industry as a "high-impact, low-cost" side project. The company operated 239 SuperTarget locations as of September 2015; they each encompass an estimate of 174,000 square feet (16,200 m2).
In August 2015, Target made the announcement of "Big or small, our stores have one thing in common: they're all Target." Since then, newer stores have opened under the Target name. Existing SuperTarget stores retained the name on the buildings although some have become Target through remodels.
While typical Target locations are about 135,000 square feet (12,500 m2), the majority of "small-format" CityTarget stores are roughly 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2). The first stores were opened in July 2012, in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle; the 160,000 square feet (15,000 m2) location in Boston is the largest CityTarget and opened in July 2015. TargetExpress stores hover around 14,000 to 21,000 square feet (1,300 to 2,000 m2); the first opened in Dinkytown near the University of Minnesota in July 2014. Products in these flexible-format properties are typically sold in smaller packages geared towards customers using public transportation. Locations built in college communities often carry an extended home department of apartment and dormitory furnishings. In August 2015, Target announced that it would rename its nine CityTarget and five TargetExpress stores as Target beginning that October, deciding that "Big or small, our stores have one thing in common: they're all Target." The first small-format stores under the unified naming scheme opened later that month in Chicago, Rosslyn, San Diego, and San Francisco. The company opened a 45,000 sq ft store in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York in October 2016. In that same month, three other similar-sized stores opened in Philadelphia, Cupertino, California, and the area around Pennsylvania State University. Target opened a 22,000 sq ft store in Austin's Dobie Twenty21, adjacent to the UT Austin campus.
Nearly all of its planned openings through 2019 are small formats, which are less than 50,000 sq ft. The goal of these smaller-format stores is to win over the business of millennial customers. The nearly 30 new locations were to be situated in college towns or densely populated areas.
Brands and subsidiaries
As of 2018, Target has four subsidiaries: Target Brands, Inc., Target Capital Corporation, Target Enterprise, Inc., and Target General Merchandise, Inc.
Financial and Retail Services
Financial and Retail Services (FRS), formerly Target Financial Services, issues Target's credit cards, known as the Target REDcard (formerly the Target Guest Card), issued through Target National Bank (formerly Retailers National Bank) for consumers and through Target Bank for businesses. FRS also oversees GiftCard balances. Target launched its PIN-x debit card, the Target Check Card, which was later rebranded the Target Debit Card. The Target Debit Card withdraws funds from the customer's existing checking account, and allows for up to $40 "cash back". The debit card allows guests to save 5% off each purchase. In late 2017, Target replaced its REDcard slogan, "Save 5% Today, Tomorrow, & Everyday with Target REDcard", when it rolled out new benefits for REDcard holders by offering exclusive products on Target.com and preorders with "Everyday Savings. Exclusive Extras."
Target Sourcing Services
This global sourcing organization locates merchandise from around the world for Target and helps import the merchandise to the United States. Such merchandise includes garments, furniture, bedding, and towels. Target Sourcing Services (TSS) has 27 full-service offices, 48 quality-control offices, and seven concessionaires located throughout the world. TSS employs 1,200 people. Its engineers are responsible for evaluating the factories that do business with Target Corporation for quality, labor rights, and transshipment issues. TSS was acquired by Target Corporation in 1998, was founded in 1916 as the Associated Merchandising Corporation, and was previously owned by the clients it served. TSS ceased operations in its department-store group, the division of the former Associated Merchandising Corporation that acted as a buying office for Saks, Inc., Bloomingdale's, Stage Stores Inc., T.J.Maxx, and Marshalls.
- Good & Gather, a food and beverage brand, is replacing Archer Farms and Simply Balanced.
- Archer Farms, up-market grocery products
- Market Pantry, value grocery products
- Simply Balanced, organic grocery products
- Sutton & Dodge, a premium meat line
- Boots & Barkley, a pet food and supply line
- Embark, an outdoor gear line of camping and travel equipment
- Room Essentials, a low-end home-goods line
- Threshold, a premium furniture line
- Fieldcrest, bedding and bath line in partnership with brand owner Iconix Brand Group
- up & up - Target issued a relaunch of the Target brand as up&up to include an expanded product selection and a new design. The up & up brand offers essential commodities, including household, healthcare, beauty, baby, and personal-care products. The brand claims to offer products of equal quality to national brands at a fraction of the cost, averaging a savings of 30%. As of September 2009, up & up offers over 800 products across 40 categories.
Other private labels include brands launched in July 2016, during back-to-school sales.
- Pillowfort, a children's line of bedding
- Cat and Jack, a children's line of apparel and accessories
- Cloud Island, a baby's line of bedding and clothing
- Project 62, a household-goods line placed alongside Room Essentials
- Goodfellow & Co., a clothing and personal-care line for men, with the name being an homage to their beginnings as Goodfellow Dry Goods
- A New Day, a clothing line for women
- JoyLab, a fitness-clothing line for women
- Hearth and Hand, a home and lifestyle brand, in collaboration with Magnolia
After the launch, the clothing and bedding brands made a big hit and were successful. Target executives claim that the new brands increased sales by $1 billion and increased 15% in revenue, only during their first year.
Eight Target private-label brands that launched in 2018:
- Universal Thread, a denim lifestyle brand
- Opalhouse, eclectic home decor
- Heyday, a line of electronic accessories
- Original Use, male clothing brand targeting gen-Z and millennials
- Wild Fable, women's clothing brand targeting gen-Z
- Made By Design, a homelines brand, made up of home basics such as towels, cooking utensils, glassware, plates, pots, kitchen gadgets, and more
- Prologue, a line of sophisticated female clothing
- Smartly, essential a commodity brand, including household, healthcare, beauty, and personal-care products
In addition, Target recently released three new intimates, loungewear, and sleepwear brands for women on February 25, 2019:
- Auden, an intimates and lingerie exclusive brand
- Stars Above, an in-house brand for sleepwear
- Colsie, an intimates and loungewear brand
Former brands include:
- Cherokee, children's and women's clothing: On September 10, 2015, Target stores announced they would cease carrying the brand when its partnership with Cherokee Inc. expired on January 31, 2017. It was replaced by Cat & Jack.
- Circo, toddler's and kids clothing: The brand was replaced by Cat & Jack upon debut.
- Merona, a clothing brand purchased by Target in 1991
- Mossimo Supply Co., a clothing line, in partnership with the brand owner Iconix Brand Group
- Xhilaration and Gilligan & O'Malley product lines of intimates and sleepwear were discontinued after the release of the brands Auden, Stars Above, and Colsie.
Type of site
|Registration||Optional but required for some features|
August 2011 (rebrand)
Target.com owns and oversees the company's e-commerce initiatives, such as the Target.com domain. Founded in early 2000 as target.direct, it was formed by separating the company's existing e-commerce operations from its retailing division and combining it with its Rivertown Trading direct-marketing unit into a stand-alone subsidiary. In 2002, target.direct and Amazon.com's subsidiary Amazon Enterprise Solutions created a partnership in which Amazon.com would provide order fulfillment and guest services for Target.com in exchange for fixed and variable fees. After the company sold Marshall Field's and Mervyn's in 2004, target.direct became Target.com. The domain target.com attracted at least 288 million visitors annually by 2008, according to a Compete.com survey. In August 2009, Target announced that they would build and manage a new Target.com platform, independent of Amazon.com. This new platform was to launch in 2011, in advance of the holiday season. Prior to the announcement, Target and Amazon had extended their partnership until 2011. In January 2010, Target announced their vendor partners for the re-platforming project. These partners include Sapient, IBM, Oracle, Endeca, Autonomy, Sterling Commerce, and Huge, among others. The re-platformed Target.com officially launched on August 23, 2011, effectively ending the partnership with Amazon.com.
- Target Portrait Studio was a chain of portrait studios that were located in select Target stores. The chain, which was operated by Lifetouch, opened in 1996 and ceased operations on January 28, 2017.
- Target Canada was the chain of Target stores in Canada. It was formed in 2013 when Target acquired Zellers and converted them into Target stores. Target Canada was in operation for two years until the closure of all stores in 2015.
As of May 2016[update], Target Corporation operates 41 distribution centers across the United States. With the exception of vendor-supplied items, such as greeting cards and soda, these distribution centers ship items directly to Target stores. Also, unlike Walmart, Target's grocery selection does not come from their own distribution centers, but from the companies with whom Target has partnered.
The retail chain's first distribution center opened in Fridley, Minnesota, in 1969. It included a computerized distribution system and was known as the Northern Distribution Center. During this time, the chain consisted of 17 stores after having expanded into Oklahoma and Texas.
On August 9, 2004, Target announced to their suppliers that they were going to perform a trial on the effects of radio-frequency identification on the efficiency of supply chain management in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. This trial involved one Target distribution center and 10 nearby Target stores. Here, RFID tags were placed on the bar codes of pallets and cartons to track the goods from the suppliers to the distribution center, and from the distribution center to the stores. As of 2009, RFID had been phased out of the Dallas–Fort Worth stores. In 2016, Target planned to roll out the RFID technology at all 1,795 of its store locations across the United States.
Target opened new distribution centers in 2006 (Rialto, California, DeKalb, Illinois) to support the growth of its stores. On January 27, 2009, Target announced the closing of its distribution center in Maumelle, Arkansas, the second-oldest in the company. The reason cited was the need to ensure that Target remains competitive in the long term. In June 2009, Target opened a new distribution center to supply more than 60 stores in three states.
SuperTarget and PFresh stores require fresh produce and refrigerated and frozen items. Food-distribution centers owned by SuperValu have been used by Target for many years. In October 2003, SuperValu's facility in Phoenix, Arizona, was converted to serve Target exclusively. The same change was implemented at the SuperValu center in Fort Worth, Texas. A new distribution center was constructed by Target in Lake City, Florida, to serve the Southeast, but it was operated by SuperValu until 2011, when it transitioned to Target. A fourth center in Cedar Falls, Iowa, opened in 2009 and is unique in that it is located adjacent to a standard Target Distribution Center, each using the same dispatch office. Other warehouses owned by SuperValu are still used in other regions, but Target plans to replace those over the next few years. In Colorado, stores are serviced through FreshPack Produce Inc. of Denver. In the mid-Atlantic region/Philadelphia market, C&S Wholesale Grocers services the fresh produce, meat, dairy, bakery, and frozen-food needs to PFresh stores. Target partnered with Swisslog Holding to use a semiautomated monorail picking system called the CaddyPick system for use in the food-distribution centers.
The company operates four facilities to receive shipments from overseas manufacturers and suppliers. They are located near ports at Rialto, California; Savannah, Georgia; Lacey, Washington; and Suffolk, Virginia. Merchandise received is sent directly to Regional Distribution Centers. Internet sales orders from the Target Direct division, which operates from the Target.com website, are processed by the facility in Woodbury, Minnesota, with some support from Savannah, Georgia, and other vendors. New centers opened in Ontario, California, and Tucson, Arizona, in 2009.
Target distribution center with a Swisslog CaddyPick system.
T-3892 Target food distribution center in Lake City, Florida.
T-0556 Target regional distribution center in Tifton, Georgia.
|T-9478||E-Commerce Fulfillment||Tucson, Arizona|
|T-9479||E-Commerce Fulfillment||Ontario, California|
|T-3892||Food||Lake City, Florida|
|-||Central returns||Indianapolis, Indiana|
|T-0590||Regional||Cedar Falls, Iowa|
|T-3895||Food||Cedar Falls, Iowa|
|T-9407||E-Commerce Fulfillment||Woodbury, Minnesota|
|T-3844||E-Commerce Fulfillment||Perth Amboy, New Jersey|
|T-3802||Regional||Amsterdam, New York|
|T-0579||Regional||Wilton, New York|
|T-3811||Regional||Newton, North Carolina|
|T-3880||Food||West Jefferson, Ohio|
|T-3804||Regional||West Jefferson, Ohio|
|-||E-Commerce Fulfillment||York, Pennsylvania|
|T-0594||Regional||Lugoff, South Carolina|
|T-0560||Regional||Stuarts Draft, Virginia|
Target Corporation has its headquarters on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis near the site of the original Goodfellows store. The complex includes Target Plaza North and Target Plaza South. Ryan Companies developed the complex, and Ellerbe Becket served as the architect. Target had the roughly $260 million complex developed to provide one location of office space for 6,000 employees. The 14-story Target Plaza North has 600,000 square feet (56,000 m2) of office and retail space, while the 32-story Target Plaza South has 1,250,000 square feet (116,000 m2) of space.
Brian Cornell is the CEO of Target Corporation. In January 2016, Cornell began making home visits in an effort to understand better the needs and desires of his customers. In January 2016, Target fired Tina Tyler from her job as chief stores officer. She was replaced with long-time employee Janna Potts.
The company states that "individuality may include a wide spectrum of attributes such as personal style, age, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, language, physical ability, religion, family, citizenship status, socio-economic circumstances, education, and life experiences."
In February 2012, the company extended the team member discount to same-sex partners of employees. It had received a 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index Score, prior to donating funds to Minnesota Forward.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has repeatedly given Target failing grades on its annual Economic Reciprocity Initiative report card, a measure of the company's "commitment to the African-American citizenry". In 2003 and 2005, the NAACP has rated Target an "F" on this report; in 2004, Target was rated a "D-". In 2006, when Target was asked why it didn't participate in the survey again, a representative explained, "Target views diversity as being inclusive of all people from all different backgrounds, not just one group."
In February 2006, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) filed a class action discrimination lawsuit in Northern California's Alameda County Superior Court, claiming that Target's commercial website contains "thousands of access barriers that make it difficult, if not impossible, for blind customers to use." Target Corporation settled the lawsuit in October 2008, paying $6 million and agreeing to work with the NFB over the next three years improving the usability of the Target.com site. August 24, 2009, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a discrimination lawsuit against Target Corporation for unlawfully denying reasonable accommodation to an employee with multiple disability-based impairments and substantially reducing his work hours due to the medical conditions. According to the claims in the EEOC press release, Target's actions violated Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.
In September 2020, Target published a "Workforce Diversity Report" indicating that 50% of Target’s 350K employees are people of color, and over half are women. The report also stated that within the corporate leadership team, people of color account for 24% of the team and 42% are women. On a retail level, 33% of stores are managed by people of color, with more than half of management positions occupied by women. 
Target is consistently ranked as one of the most philanthropic companies in the US. It ranked No. 22 in Fortune magazine's "World's Most Admired Companies" for 2010, largely in part to the donation efforts of the company as a whole. According to a November 2005 Forbes article, it ranked as the highest cash-giving company in America in percentage of income given (2.1%). Target donates around 5 percent of its pre-tax operating profit; it gives over $3 million a week (up from $2 million in years prior) to the communities in which it operates. It also gives a percentage of charges from its Target Visa to schools designated by the cardholders. To date, Target has given over $150 million to schools across the United States through this program.
Further evidence of Target's philanthropy can be found in the Target House complex in Memphis, Tennessee, a long-term housing solution for families of patients at the city's St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The corporation led the way with more than $27 million in donations, which made available 96 fully furnished apartments for families needing to stay at St. Jude over 90 days.
Target has a no-solicitation rule at its properties, as it seeks to provide a "distraction-free shopping experience for its guests." Exemptions to this policy were previously made for the Salvation Army red kettles and bell-ringers outside Target stores during the holidays through Christmas. In 2004, however, Target asked the organization to explore alternate methods to partner with Target. Target donates to local Salvation Army chapters through its grant program and annually to the United Way of America (the Salvation Army is a member of the United Way coalition).
In 2005, Target and the Salvation Army created a joint effort called "The Target/Salvation Army Wish List", where online shoppers could donate goods to the organization for hurricane victims by buying them directly from Target.com between November 25, 2005, and January 25, 2006. In 2006, they created another joint effort called "The Target/Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree", which is an online version of the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program; in addition to donating proceeds made from the sales of limited edition Harvey Lewis angel ornaments within Target's stores. During the Thanksgiving holiday of 2006, Target and the Salvation Army partnered with magician David Blaine to send several families on a shopping spree the morning of Black Friday. The challenge held that if Blaine could successfully work his way out of a spinning gyroscope by the morning of Black Friday, then several families would receive $500 shopping certificates. The challenge was completed successfully by Blaine.
During disasters, Target has been a major benefactor for relief efforts. Target provided monetary and product donations during the September 11 attacks; it also donated money for relief efforts for the 2004 tsunami in South Asia and donated $1.5 million (US) to the American Red Cross in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It also allowed its store properties in the affected area to be used as command centers for relief organizations and donated supplies such as water and bug spray.
Target will often donate its unused, returned or seasonal merchandise (particularly clothing) to Goodwill Industries.
In 2007, Target Corporation agreed to reduce its sales on all materials containing polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Testers found toxic lead and phthalates and large amounts of PVC in toys, lunch boxes, baby bibs, jewelry, garden hoses, mini blinds, Christmas trees, and electronics. Several studies have shown that chemicals in vinyl chloride can cause serious health problems for children and adults. The University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago states that people who use products containing PVC can become exposed with harmful toxic phthalates and lead, which eventually can become a big contributor with dioxins. Lois Gibbs, executive director of the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice, stated, "Target is doing the right thing by moving away from PVC and switching to safer alternatives." Other companies reducing the PVC on their shelves include Walmart, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, and Apple. Target is beginning to reduce energy use with energy-efficient storefronts and reducing waste with recycling programs. All Target stores in the United States use plastic carts with metal frames. In mid-2006, Target took it a step further when it began introducing a newer cart design made entirely of plastic. It also uses the same design in its hand-use baskets.
Target released a 13-page report in 2007 that outlined their current and future plans for becoming more earth-friendly according to LEED. Such efforts include installing sand filtration systems for the stores' wastewater. Recycling programs will be aimed at garment hangers, corrugated cardboard, electronics, shopping carts, shrink wrap, construction wastes, carpeting, and ceiling tiles and roofing materials. All stores in Oklahoma will be partnered with Oklahoma Gas & Electric to exclusively use wind power for all Target stores in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Stores nationwide use only LED and fluorescent lights and low-flow restrooms that reduce wastewater by 30%. Some Target stores are installing roof gardens or green roofs, which absorb stormwater and cut down on surface runoff, mitigate temperature fluctuations and provide habitats for birds. There are currently four green-roof Target stores in Chicago.
Target carries over 700 organic and alternative products from brands such as Archer Farms, Burt's Bees, and Method Products. They also sell clothes made from organic cotton, non-toxic cleaners, low-energy lighting and electronics, non-toxic and non-animal tested cosmetics, and furniture made from recycled materials. As of June 2007[update], Target has been offering reusable shopping bags as an alternative to disposable plastic bags. Target gift cards are made from corn-based resins. All of the stores' packaging is done with a modified paperboard/clamshell option and has goals for phasing out plastic wrap completely.
In collaboration with MBH Architects, Target's first "green" building was a 100,000+ square foot Target store built-in 1995 in Fullerton, California. It was a part of the EPA Energy Star Showcase for its use of skylights that cut the original energy consumption by 24% with a 5-year payback. Target and MBH Architects were awarded the "Green Lights Partner/Ally of the Year Award".
Target is the only national retailer employing a Garment Hanger reuse program, which keeps millions of pounds of metal and plastic out of landfills. In 2007, this program prevented 434 million hangers from entering landfills.
On June 15, 2009, the California Attorney General and 20 California District Attorneys filed a lawsuit in Alameda County alleging that Target stores across the state have been illegally dumping hazardous wastes in landfills.
On October 1, 2009, Target Corporation agreed to pay a $600,000 civil penalty for importing and selling a variety of toys with lead paint levels that were higher than is legally allowed. The Consumer Products Safety Commission alleged that "Target knowingly imported and sold the illegal Chinese-made toys between May 2006 and August 2007." A similar problem occurred a few months later in February 2010, when Target pulled Valentine's Day "message bears" from its shelves at the request of the California attorney general's office. The bears, which were manufactured in China, contained more lead than is permissible under federal law for children under 12.
A class action suit was filed in 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, on behalf of consumers in Ohio that purchased Target-brand wet wipes. The lawsuit filed against Target Corporation alleges the retailer misled consumers by marking the packaging on its up & up® brand wipes as flushable and safe for sewer and septic systems. The lawsuit also alleges that so-called flushable wipes are a public health hazard because they are alleged to clog pumps at municipal waste-treatment facilities.
In December 2013, a data breach of Target's systems affected up to 110 million customers. Compromised customer information included names, phone numbers, email and mailing addresses. In March 2015, Target reached a class-action settlement with affected consumers for $10 million (plus class-action attorney fees). In May 2016, Target settled with affected banks and credit unions for $39 million (plus class-action attorney fees), of which $19 million would be disbursed by a MasterCard program.
Labor relations and team member offerings
In 2015, Target followed Walmart in raising its minimum wage to $9 per hour. Two years later, Target announced that the minimum hourly wage would be increased to $11 by October 2017 and pledged to raise it to $15 (referred to as "living wage" by labor advocates) by 2020. By April 2019, the company announced that it was on track to meet this goal, increasing its minimum wage to $13 per hour. In June 2020, Target announced ahead of schedule that the minimum hourly wage would rise to $15 permanently, after previously announcing it to be temporary through July 4, 2020. As a thank you to store and distribution center team members who worked during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, Target also announced a one-time $200 bonus to be paid towards the end of July 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Target began providing additional team member resources to help team members meet essential needs, obtain virtual healthcare, and take a paid leave of absence (based on certain medical or physical criteria that may cause exposure to coronavirus). In February 2021, Target began offering all of its hourly employees up to four hours of pay when they get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as well as covering the cost of a Lyft ride, up to $15 each way, to the vaccination appointment.
Differentiation from competitors
Since its founding, it has intended to differentiate its stores from its competitors by offering what it believes is more upscale, trend-forward merchandise at lower costs, rather than the traditional concept of focusing on low-priced goods. Douglas J. Dayton, one of the Dayton brothers, explained John Geisse's concept:
"We will offer high-quality merchandise at low margins because we are cutting expenses. We would much rather do this than trumpet dramatic price cuts on cheap merchandise."
As a result, Target stores tend to attract younger customers than Walmart, among other competitors. The median Target shopper is 40, the youngest of all major discount retailers that Target competes directly against. The median household income of Target's customer base is roughly $64,000. Roughly 76% of Target customers are female, and more than 43% have children at home. About 80% have attended college and 57% have completed college.
In October 2008, Target announced plans to fight the perception that their products are more expensive than those of other discount retailers. It added perishables to their inventory, cut back on discretionary items, and spent three-quarters of their marketing budget on advertising that emphasizes value and includes actual prices of items featured in ads. Target also planned to slow its expansion from about 100 stores a year down to 70 stores a year.
Target stores are designed to be more attractive than large big-box stores by having wider aisles, drop ceilings, a more attractive presentation of merchandise, and generally cleaner fixtures. Special attention is given to the design of the store environment: graphics reinforce its advertising imagery, while shelves are dressed with contemporary signage, backdrops, and liners, often printed on inexpensive material such as paper, corrugated and foam boards. Some stores, particularly those in the vicinity of major airports, have a bullseye painted on the roof that can be seen from above: the stores in East Point, Georgia near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; Rosemont, Illinois, near O'Hare International Airport; Potomac Yard, Virginia, near Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport; College Point, New York (Queens), east of LaGuardia Airport; and Richfield, Minnesota, adjacent to Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport are among such locations.
Target stores do not sell firearms. In the early 1990s, they ceased sales of toy guns that looked realistic and limited its toy gun selection to ones that were brightly colored and oddly shaped. In 2014, Target also "respectfully" asked their guests to leave any firearms at home when visiting the store. They do not sell tobacco products and have not sold cigarettes since 1996.
Most Target stores don't play music, but may be changing that from 2017 with a rebranding process, adding music to the rebranded stores.
Some people jokingly give Target the pseudo-French pronunciation // tar-ZHAY, as though it were an upscale boutique. Though this practice is often attributed to Oprah Winfrey's usage on her television show, it is first attested in 1962, the year the first Target store opened. Target once sold a line of shoes called "Miss Targé;" this was reinforced by a 1980s television advertisement starring Didi Conn. This pronunciation has also led some people to incorrectly believe that the company is French-owned. In recognition of the nickname's popularity and cachet, Target Corporation licensed its new name and logo to Brand Central LLC in 2006, complete with an accent over the letter "E" for a new line of clothing aimed at more upscale fashion customers. The line, "Targét Couture," was originally sold in Los Angeles-based store Intuition, which deals with high-end brands.
Target uses a practice that was derived in 1989 from The Walt Disney Company by calling its customers "Guests," its employees "Team Members," and its supervisors "Team Leaders." Also, managers are known as "Executive Team Leaders (ETLs)," "Senior Team Leaders (SRTLs)," or "Guest Service Team Leaders (GSTLs)," and the Store Manager is known as the "Store Team Leader (STL)," Further up the "chain of command" are "District Team Leaders (DTL)," "Group Team Leaders (GTL, sometimes also Group Vice President)," "Regional Team Leaders (RTL, sometimes also Regional Vice President)," and corporate-level executives.
This practice began to be revised in 2018 and became more widespread in 2019 as the Group Team Leader became the Group Operations Director. District Team Leader became the District Senior Director. The Store Team Leader became Store Director. Executive Team Leaders were shortened to Executive Team Lead. Other Team Leaders retained their title though some of the department names changed such as Guest Service Team Leader was renamed Service & Engagement Team Leader. Front of store team members was renamed Guest Advocates. Specialty areas in Style, Beauty and Tech are considered Consultants. Other areas such as General Merchandise, Presentation, Inbound, Fulfillment, Food Service and Reverse Logistics are considered Experts.
Product lines and partnerships
Target has many exclusive deals with various designers and name brands, including Finnish design company Marimekko; architect Michael Graves; athletic wear company Converse; Portland-based undergarment designer Pair of Thieves; Italian fashion label Fiorucci; fashion designers Lilly Pulitzer, Liz Lange, Mossimo Giannulli, and Isaac Mizrahi, among others. To further increase its fashion profile, Target also created its fashion-forward Go International line, which hires famous designers to design collections available only for a few months.
After hiring architect Michael Graves to design the scaffolding used to renovate the Washington Monument and contributing US$6 million to the restoration plan, Target introduced its first designer line of products in 1999, the Michael Graves Collection of housewares and home decor products. Walmart and Kmart have followed Target's lead by signing exclusive designers to their stores as well. Target also partners with well-established national brands to create exclusive collections for its stores.
In 2005, Target introduced a major revision of prescription bottles, which it calls the ClearRx system. The redesigned bottles are color-coded, flattened-out and turned upside down, providing more room for the label. This system was based on the patent by student Deborah Adler and was named one of TIME's "Most Amazing Inventions of 2005." After Target sold their in-store pharmacy and clinic operations to CVS Health in December 2015, CVS discontinued the use of ClearRx.
Sometimes manufacturers will create red-colored items exclusively for Target. In 2002, Nintendo produced a red special edition variant of the Game Boy Advance, which featured the Target logo above the screen.
In 2005, IFC began a partnership with Target to promote a selection of independent films, both in Target stores and on IFC Monday nights at 9:00 pm Eastern. Originally titled IFC Cinema Red, the promotion was rebranded on-air as The Spotlight in 2007. The in-store headers refer to the selected titles as IFC Indies – Independent films chosen for Target by the Independent Film Channel.
In 2016, Target began to enforce gender neutrality in its marketing of toys, and stopped explicitly listed specific toys as being for "boys" or "girls." This change came after the store stopped color coding toy aisles with pink and blue for "girls" or "boys," respectively. This practice was expanded with the February 2016 launch of new children's decor line, Pillowfort, which replaced its Circo brand and features more gender-neutral designs and color schemes.
The Target GiftCard is the retailing division's stored-value card or gift card. Target sells more gift cards than any other retailer in the United States and is one of the top sellers, by dollars and units, in the world. The unique designs of their cards contribute to their higher sales, as well as Target's policy of no expiration dates or service fees. Past and current designs include lenticular, "scratch and sniff" (such as peppermint during the Christmas season), glow in the dark, LED light-up, a gift card on the side of a bubble blower, a gift card that can function as a CD-ROM, and even a gift card that allows the sender to record a voice message. A current environmentally friendly gift card is made from bioplastic manufactured from corn. Target rolled out a new MP3 player gift card for the 2006 holiday season. It holds 12 songs and must be purchased with an initial value of at least $50.
Beginning in January 2010, Target Stores rolled out Mobile GiftCards, through which one can produce a GiftCard barcode on any web-capable cell phone. This data matrix barcode can be scanned at a Target POS like any physical card barcode, and balances can be stored, retrieved, and gifted with the convenience of a cell phone.
Some of these unique design ideas are patented, and these patents are assigned to the Target Brands subsidiary. For example, some such Target GiftCard designs feature a wooden front side. On May 24, 2005, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted U.S. patent D505,450 for the "ornamental design for credit or stored value card with wood layer" to inventors Amy L. Lauer and John D. Mayhew. U.S. patent 7004398, for the "stored-value card assembly including a stored-value card, an edible product, and a wrapper", was granted to Michael R. Francis and Barry C. Brooks on February 28, 2006. Both patents have been assigned by their inventors to Target Brands, Inc.
Target GiftCards are also collector's items. Some of the first gift cards issued are valued at over $300 (even though the card doesn't have any money on it). Every year, Target introduces new Holiday GiftCards. In 2007, Target's Holiday GiftCards featured a wind-up flashlight, a musical gift card, a gift card that lights up, and a scented gift card.
Target forensic services
In 2006, The Washington Post revealed that Target was operating two criminal forensics laboratories, one at its headquarters and the other in Las Vegas. Originally, the lab was created with the role of investigating internal instances of theft, fraud, and other criminal actions that have occurred on its own properties. Eventually, the company began offering pro bono services to law enforcement agencies across the country. Target's Forensic Services has assisted agencies at all levels of government, including such federal agencies as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Secret Service.
Criticism and controversy
Animal welfare concerns
In 2011, Mercy for Animals, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies, uncovered alleged animal abuse at a Target egg supplier, Sparboe Farms.
The investigation received international media attention; it aired first on ABC's Good Morning America, World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, and 20/20. As a result of the investigation and the public outcry that followed, Target immediately discontinued its relationship with the company. In January 2016, Target Corp. announced that it will discontinue the use of eggs from caged hens, and become entirely cage-free by 2025.
Pop star Lady Gaga was expected to give the store an exclusive expanded edition of her then upcoming album Born This Way, but she ended the deal after discovering that then CEO Gregg Steinhafel donated to a political action group that supported an anti-gay candidate. Target apologized and began its outward support of the LGBTQ community. In 2012 it began by stocking gay pride merchandise and donating half of the profits to GLSEN. In 2014 it began featuring LGBTQ individuals and couples in national advertising. In 2015, Target debuted their #takepride campaign, and partnered with GLSEN to produce a mini-documentary celebrating their 25th anniversary. Target sponsors many LGBTQ non-profits including Human Rights Campaign, GLSEN, GLAAD, Family Equality Council, NGLCC and the Williams Institute. For the last three years, Target has been the presenting sponsor of GLAAD's Spirit Day. In 2017, Target was the founding partner of New York City's Pride Youth. Target has been ranked by LGBTQ Consumers as a favorite brand in 2016 & 2017 by Community Marketing Inc's 10th & 11th Annual LGBT Community Survey. Target has a score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for their corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees. In 2019, Target donated $100,000 to GLSEN.
Pornographic audio over loudspeaker incident
On October 14, 2015, audio from a pornographic film was unexpectedly broadcast over the public-address system of a Target location in Campbell, California. The incident was recorded by a shopper, Gina Young, and uploaded to YouTube, where it quickly went viral; Young stated that some patrons immediately left the store, while others offered to cover her children's ears and confronted employees scrambling to silence the broadcast. A Target in San Luis Obispo was involved in a similar incident four months earlier. A Target spokeswoman stated that the company was "actively reviewing the situation with the team to better understand what happened and to help ensure this doesn't happen again." The July incident had resulted in the store being evacuated.
"Bathroom policy" and boycott
In April 2016, Target announced on its website that it would allow transgender customers and employees access to use restrooms and changing areas that correspond with the gender with which they identify, except where local laws require otherwise. The announcement read: "We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally. Consistent with this belief, Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination. In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity." The New York Times called this "the most prominent position taken by a national retailer". In response, the American Family Association (AFA) launched a nationwide boycott; by April 28 about one million people had signed the AFA's petition. Around the time of publicity about the policy, polls reported a drop from 42% to 38% of consumers noting they would shop at Target. In mid-May, CEO Cornell said the boycott impacted "just a handful of stores across the country". Some observers, such as Fortune's Phil Wahba, believed that Target's bathroom policy may have caused part of Target's drop in shopper traffic during the second quarter of 2016. On August 17, Target announced it would add a third, private, single-stall locking bathroom at many of its stores. In 2017, Cornell claimed not to know about, or have approved, the policy before it was published. The policy cost the business US$20 million and caused sales to fall nearly 6% in the three quarters following.
Absence of AEDs in stores
In 2014, the California Supreme Court ruled that Target stores do not have a positive duty to keep automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in stores for purposes of first aid. This decision came after a 49-year-old woman died following a heart attack in a Target store, and two family members filed a wrongful-death lawsuit.
Refusal to stock albums after digital release
Target initially refused to sell Frank Ocean's Channel Orange and Beyoncé's self-titled album, due to those records becoming available to digital retailers, like iTunes, before physical copies were made. Target representatives argued that doing so impacted how well those records would sell at Target stores, and stocking them could cause the corporation to lose money.
- Target often supports major awards shows, such as the Emmys, Golden Globes, Grammys, and Oscars.
- Target Corporation is a major sponsor of the annual Minneapolis Aquatennial, where it hosts the Target Fireworks Show, the largest annual fireworks show west of the Mississippi River and the fourth-largest annual fireworks show in the United States.
- Target was a sponsor of the 2006–2007 New Year's Times Square Ball drop, and had its logo placed on the confetti dropped during the celebrations, as well as specially designed "2007" glasses.
Minnesota United FC
In January 2017, Minnesota United FC, a Major League Soccer expansion team debuting for the 2017 season, announced that Target would be the team's front-of-jersey match-kit sponsor, as well as sponsoring MLS overall. This brings one of the largest sponsors in the league, especially for an expansion team making its debut appearance. The team also has an advantage of having a large, well-known hometown brand versus an entity outside the region, in addition to the financial benefits of such a large sponsor.
Major League Soccer and US Youth Soccer
In 2017, Target announced a series of national, local, and charitable initiatives that mark the retailer's largest-ever push into team sports. Target became an official partner of Major League Soccer in a multiyear deal that includes airtime during MLS broadcasts on Univision, FOX Sports, and ESPN, opportunities for in-stadium experiences, player appearances, and ownership of certain major MLS platforms. Target also announced a $14 million commitment to local youth soccer through two new national initiatives—an $8 million local soccer grant program, and a $6 million partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to build 100 new soccer play spaces by 2020. Target is the official sponsor of 2017& 2018 MLS All Star Games.
Target sponsors professional freestyle motocross rider Nate Adams, pro snowboarder/skateboarder Shaun White, pro skateboarder Paul Rodriguez, pro BMX rider Mat Hoffman, and pro surfer Kolohe Andino.
Chip Ganassi Racing
Target was a long-time sponsor of the IndyCar and NASCAR racing teams of Chip Ganassi Racing. Target's relationship with Ganassi in IndyCar go back to 1990 when it began sponsoring Eddie Cheever. Some of their most famous drivers in the 1990s include Michael Andretti, Bryan Herta, and Arie Luyendyk. In the late 1990s, Target Chip Ganassi Racing had a four-year run of winning championships in CART, winning 1996 with Jimmy Vasser, 1997 and 1998 with Alex Zanardi, and 1999 with Juan Pablo Montoya. Ganassi won their first Indianapolis 500 in 2000. The team moved full-time into the rival Indy Racing League in 2003, and won in its first year of full-time competition, with Scott Dixon, who won the championship again in 2008. The 2009 season marked the 20th anniversary of the Target race program. Franchitti won his second career IndyCar championship, and with Scott Dixon finishing second, gave Target a one-two sweep in the IndyCar series. Dixon and Franchitti won 10 of 17 races (five each) and tied the team record from 1998 when Alex Zanardi and Jimmy Vasser combined to win 10 in the 19-race 1998 CART season. In 2010, Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500. He also won the series championship for the Target team, by five points over second-place finisher Will Power.
Target started sponsoring stock cars in 2001 with Sterling Marlin when Chip Ganassi bought into the Felix Sabates stock-car team. In the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, the number-41 Chip Ganassi Target car was driven by Jimmy Spencer, and from 2003 to 2005, Casey Mears drove the car. In 2006, Reed Sorenson took over the 41 car when Mears moved to a different car on the same team. Sorenson drove the car through the 2008 season, and Target has also had some major sponsorship time on the Ganassi Racing number-40 car with Dario Franchitti and Jeremy Mayfield, who subbed for the injured Franchitti. The 40 team has since been shut down. For 2009, the Target sponsorship moved to the number 42 driven by [Juan Pablo Montoya with the newly formed Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Target also sponsored Earnhardt Ganassi Racing's number-8 car driven by Aric Almirola, which it co-sponsors in some races with other sponsors such as Guitar Hero and TomTom until the team was disbanded in May 2009. Kyle Larson took over the number-42 car in 2014 and Target sponsored the number 51 of Phoenix Racing for Larson's Sprint Cup Series debut.
Target ended its association with IndyCar racing at the end of the 2016 season. In July 2017, Target announced that it would end its sponsorship of Ganassi's NASCAR team at the end of the year.
Target was the founding sponsor of the Weekend America radio program.
In popular culture
- One of the earliest references to Target in popular culture is the film Career Opportunities (1991), written by John Hughes, in which an employee and a customer fall in love after hours inside a Target store.
- American television program Saturday Night Live featured a recurring sketch in the 2000s starring the Target Lady, an overly enthusiastic Target cashier, played by cast member Kristen Wiig.
- Target is the namesake of an episode of the third season of American TV comedy Superstore. In the episode, an employee at big-box retailer "Cloud 9" leaves for a job at Target, and is accused of poaching employees.
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