Hardware Retailing

MAY 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | May 2017 86 Target Today 360 Refocusing the Business Refocus, simplify, prioritize and redefine are the key words for Target's growth strategy under Target CEO and chairman Brian Cornell. Shortly after Cornell joined the company as its top executive in 2014, he began leading rapid-fire changes. In January 2015, Target Corp. announced it would close all 133 of its Target Canada stores and its Canadian distribution centers. The oldest Target Canada locations had been open barely two years. However, Target couldn't come up with a plan for quickly turning a profit in Canada, Cornell said in a statement from the company. "When I joined Target, I promised our team and shareholders that I would take a hard look at our business and operations in an effort to improve our performance and transform our company," Cornell says in a press release. Target's leadership, including its board of directors, decided the company would benefit overall by leaving Canada to "focus on driving growth and building further momentum in our U.S. business," Cornell says in a statement. Next, the retailer made plans to cut thousands of U.S. jobs, eliminating about 2,600 positions in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area alone, according to the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis. That same spring, Cornell also led the sale of Target's pharmacy business to CVS Pharmacy. The big box unloaded 1,672 pharmacies in that deal, according to Target reports. CVS now operates the pharmacies located in Target stores. In the midst of dramatically shedding businesses and staff, Cornell described "simplifying how we work, and practicing financial discipline" as necessary for the company's growth. "We're focused on our future and building the capabilities that will take us further, faster," Cornell says in a press release. When describing its refocus, the company's leadership outlined plans for building seamless store, online and mobile shopping experiences; customizing its store product offerings for individual markets; differentiating its style, baby, kids and wellness categories; and testing smaller stores "to cater to guests in rapidly growing, dense urban areas." Zeroing in on what customers are looking for in retail experiences has included in-person interviews with shoppers, and even visits with customers in their homes, the Star Tribune reports. "Redefining Target will require a renewed emphasis on prioritization and innovation, and above all else, putting our guests first in everything we do," Cornell says in a news release. Technology Initiatives To engage its customers, Target keeps technology at the forefront. From designing Target. com and mobile applications to using in-store beacons and opening Target Open House—a smart-home test store in California—the retailer is constantly looking for ways to deliver a seamless shopping experience. Target.com and a New Approach to Online Fulfillment Target has had a presence online since 1999, and from 2001 until 2011, the retailer had a partnership with Amazon.com to power its e-commerce offerings, according to Business Insider, an online business news source. In 2011, Target cut ties with the online bookseller, which was becoming a competitor. In order to compete better online, Target announced in February that part of a $7 billion reinvestment into the company would be used to beef up its e-commerce business.

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