Target Corporation

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Target Corporation
Traded asNYSETGT (S&P 500 Component)
FoundedMinneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. (1902 (1902), as Dayton Dry Goods)[1]
Founder(s)George Dayton
HeadquartersTarget Plaza North & Target Plaza South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Number of locations1,924 (March 2014)[2]
1,797 (U.S.) 127 (Canada)[3]
Area servedUnited States, Canada
Key peopleGregg Steinhafel
(Chairman, President and CEO)
ProductsDiscount department store, hypermarket, supercenter, superstore
RevenueIncrease US$ 72.6 billion (FY2013)[4]
Operating incomeIncrease US$ 5.371 billion (FY2013)[5]
Net incomeIncrease US$ 2.999 billion (FY2013)[5]
Total assetsIncrease US$ 48.163 billion (FY2013)[5]
Total equityIncrease US$ 16.558 billion (FY2013)[5]
Employees361,000 (2013)
SubsidiariesTarget Canada Co.
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Target Corporation
Traded asNYSETGT (S&P 500 Component)
FoundedMinneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. (1902 (1902), as Dayton Dry Goods)[1]
Founder(s)George Dayton
HeadquartersTarget Plaza North & Target Plaza South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Number of locations1,924 (March 2014)[2]
1,797 (U.S.) 127 (Canada)[3]
Area servedUnited States, Canada
Key peopleGregg Steinhafel
(Chairman, President and CEO)
ProductsDiscount department store, hypermarket, supercenter, superstore
RevenueIncrease US$ 72.6 billion (FY2013)[4]
Operating incomeIncrease US$ 5.371 billion (FY2013)[5]
Net incomeIncrease US$ 2.999 billion (FY2013)[5]
Total assetsIncrease US$ 48.163 billion (FY2013)[5]
Total equityIncrease US$ 16.558 billion (FY2013)[5]
Employees361,000 (2013)
SubsidiariesTarget Canada Co.

The Target Corporation is an American retailing company, founded in 1902 and headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is the second-largest discount retailer in the United States, Walmart being the largest.[6][7] The company is ranked 36th on the Fortune 500 as of 2013 and is a component of the Standard & Poor's 500 index. Its bullseye trademark is licensed to Wesfarmers, owners of the separate Target Australia chain which is unrelated to Target Corporation.

The first Target store was opened in 1962 in Roseville, Minnesota. Target grew and eventually became the largest division of Dayton Hudson Corporation, culminating in the company being renamed as Target Corporation in August 2000. In early 2013, Target expanded into Canada and now operates over 100 locations through its Canadian subsidiary. In December 2013, a data breach of Target's systems affected up to 110 million customers.[8][9][10]


1902–61: Dayton's[edit]

Dayton's Dry Goods Company was founded in 1902 by George Draper Dayton, a banker who built his wealth by buying farm mortgages in southwest Minnesota and an active member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis. During the Panic of 1893 which caused a decline in real estate prices, the Westminster Presbyterian Church burned down, and because its insurance wouldn't cover the cost of a new building, the church was looking for revenue. Its congregation appealed to Dayton to buy the empty corner lot next to the demolished building from the church so it could rebuild. Dayton bought it and eventually constructed a six-story building on that corner lot in downtown Minneapolis.[11][12]

In 1902, Dayton, looking for tenants, convinced Reuben Simon Goodfellow Company to move its nearby Goodfellows department store into his newly erected building. Goodfellow retired and sold his interest in the store to Dayton.[12] The store's name was changed to the Dayton Dry Goods Company in 1903, later being changed to the Dayton Company in 1911. Dayton, who had no prior retail experience yet maintained connections as a banker, held tight control of the company and ran it as a family enterprise. The store was run on strict Presbyterian guidelines, which forbade the selling of alcohol and any kind of business activity—opening the store, advertising, and business travel—on Sundays. It refused to advertise in newspapers that sponsored liquor ads. In 1918, Dayton, who gave away most of his money to charity, founded the Dayton Foundation with $1 million.[11]

By the 1920s, the Dayton Company was a multi-million dollar business that filled the entire six-story building. In 1923, Dayton's 43-year-old son David died, prompting George to start transferring parts of the business to another son, Nelson Dayton. Right before the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the company made its first expansion by acquiring the Minneapolis-based jeweler J.B. Hudson & Son. Throughout the Great Depression, its jewelry store operated in a net loss, but its department store managed to weather the economic crisis. In 1938, George Dayton died and Nelson Dayton assumed the role of president of the Dayton Company, a $14 million business. Throughout his tenure, the strict Presbyterian guidelines and conservative management style of his father were maintained.[11]

Throughout World War II, Nelson Dayton's managers focused on keeping the store stocked, which led to an increase in revenue. Consumer goods were generally rare, so shoppers no longer had to be persuaded to buy whatever merchandise was available. When the War Production Board initiated its scrap metal drives, Dayton donated the electric sign on the department store to the local scrap metal heap. In 1944, it offered its workers retirement benefits, becoming one of the first stores in the United States to do so. This was followed by offering them a comprehensive health insurance policy in 1950. In 1946, it started contributing 5% of its taxable income to the Dayton Foundation.[11]

In 1950, Nelson Dayton died, and his son Donald Dayton assumed the role of president. The Dayton Company was run by Donald and four of his cousins instead of by a single person. This younger team of managers abandoned the Presbyterian guidelines that George and Nelson upheld in favor of secularism, and started selling alcohol and opening the business on Sundays. It favored a more radical, aggressive, innovative, costly, and expansive management style. It acquired the Portland, Oregon-based Lipman's department store company during the 1950s and operated it as a separate division.[13] In 1956, the Dayton Company opened Southdale Center, a two-level shopping center in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina. Because there were only 113 good shopping days in a year in Minneapolis, the architect decided to build the mall under a cover, and Southdale became the world's first fully enclosed shopping mall. The company became a retail chain with the opening of its second Dayton's department store in Southdale.[11]

1962–65: Founding of Target[edit]

Target's original bullseye logo, used from 1962 until 1968

While working for the Dayton company, John F. Geisse developed the concept of upscale discount retailing. On May 1, 1962, the Dayton Company, using Geisse's concepts, opened its first Target discount store located at 1515 West County Road B in the Saint Paul suburb of Roseville, Minnesota. The name "Target" originated from Dayton's publicity director, Stewart K. Widdess, and was intended to prevent consumers from associating the new discount store chain with the department store. Douglas Dayton served as the first president of Target. The new subsidiary ended its first year with four units, all in Minnesota. Target Stores lost money in its initial years but reported its first gain in 1965, with sales reaching $39 million, allowing a fifth store to open in Minneapolis.

1966–74: Expansion[edit]

In 1966, Bruce Dayton launched the B. Dalton Bookseller specialty chain as a Dayton Company subsidiary.[12] Target Stores expanded outside of Minnesota by opening two stores in Denver, Colorado, and sales exceeded $60 million. The next year, the Dayton Corporation was established, and it went public with its first offering of common stock. It opened two more Target stores in Minnesota, resulting in a total of nine units.[citation needed] It also acquired the San Francisco-based jeweler Shreve & Co., which it merged with previously acquired J.B. Hudson & Son to become Dayton Jewelers.[11]

This SuperTarget in Roseville, Minnesota, sits on the site of the first Target store, which opened in 1962 and was torn down and replaced by this much larger store in 2005.

In 1968, Target changed its bullseye logo to a more modern look, and expanded into St. Louis, Missouri, with two new stores. Target's president, Douglas J. Dayton, went back to the parent Dayton Corporation and was succeeded by William A. Hodder, and senior vice president and founder John Geisse left the company. Geisse was later hired by St. Louis-based May Department Stores, where he founded the Venture Stores chain.[14] Target Stores ended the year with 11 units and $130 million in sales. It also acquired the Los Angeles-based Pickwick Book Shops and merged it into B. Dalton Bookseller.

In 1969, it acquired the Boston-based Lechmere electronics and appliances chain that operated in New England, and the Philadelphia-based jewelry chain J.E. Caldwell.[11] It expanded Target Stores into Texas and Oklahoma with six new units and built its first distribution center in Fridley, Minnesota.[15] The Dayton Company also merged with the Detroit-based J.L. Hudson Company that year, to become the Dayton-Hudson Corporation, the 14th largest retailer in the United States, consisting of Target and five major department store chains: Dayton's, Diamond's of Phoenix, Arizona, Hudson's, John A. Brown of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Lipman's. The company offered Dayton-Hudson stock on the New York Stock Exchange. The Dayton Foundation changed its name to the Dayton Hudson Foundation, and Dayton-Hudson maintained its 5% donation of its taxable income to the foundation.[11]

In 1970, Target Stores added seven new units, including two units in Wisconsin, and the 24-unit chain reached $200 million in sales.[14] Dayton-Hudson acquired the Team Electronics specialty chain that was headed by Stephen L. Pistner.[16] It also acquired the Chicago-based jeweler C.D. Peacock, Inc., and the San Diego-based jeweler J. Jessop and Sons.[11]

Target logo used from early 1970s through 2004, but is still used sometimes as a secondary logo. Changes from the original logo are that its brandmark is a single red ring with a red dot in the middle,[17] and its wordmark uses the Helvetica typeface.[18]

In 1971, Dayton-Hudson acquired sixteen stores from the Arlan's department store chain in Colorado, Iowa, and Oklahoma. Two of those units reopened as Target stores that year. Dayton-Hudson's sales across all its chains surpassed $1 billion, with the Target chain only contributing a fraction to it.[11]

In 1972, the other fourteen units from the Arlan's acquisition were reopened as Target stores to make a total of 46 units. As a result of its rapid expansion and the top executives' lack of experience in discount retailing, the chain reported its first decrease in profits since its initial years. Its loss in operational revenue was due to overstocking and carrying goods over multiple years regardless of inventory and storage costs. By then, Dayton-Hudson considered selling off the Target Stores subsidiary.[14]

In 1973, Stephen Pistner, who had already revived Team Electronics and would later work for Montgomery Ward and Ames, was named chief executive officer of Target Stores, and Kenneth A. Macke was named Target Stores' senior vice president. The new management marked down merchandise to clean out its overstock and allowed only one new unit to open that year.[14]

1975–82: Target becomes top subsidiary[edit]

In 1975, Target opened two stores, reaching 49 units in nine states and $511 million in sales. That year, the Target discount chain became Dayton-Hudson's top revenue producer.[14]

In 1976, Target opened four new units and reached $600 million in sales. Macke was promoted to president and chief executive officer of Target Stores. Inspired by the Dayton Hudson Foundation, the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce started the 5% Club (now known as the Minnesota Keystone Program) which honored companies that donated 5% of their taxable incomes to charities.[11]

In 1977, Target Stores opened seven new units and Stephen Pistner became president of Dayton-Hudson, with Macke succeeding him as chairman and chief executive officer of Target Stores. The senior vice president of Dayton-Hudson, Bruce G. Allbright, moved to Target Stores and succeeded Kenneth Macke as president.

In 1978, the company acquired Mervyns and became the 7th largest general merchandise retailer in the United States. Target Stores opened eight new stores that year, including its first shopping mall anchor store in Grand Forks, North Dakota.[19]

In 1979, it opened 13 new units to a total of 80 Target stores in eleven states.[14] Dayton-Hudson reached $3 billion in sales, with $1.12 billion coming from the Target store chain alone.[11]

In 1980, Dayton-Hudson sold its Lipman's department store chain of six units to Marshall Field's, which rebranded the stores as Frederick & Nelson.[13] That year, Target Stores opened seventeen new units, including expansions into Tennessee and Kansas. It also acquired the Ayr-Way discount retail chain of 40 stores and one distribution center from Indianapolis-based L.S. Ayres & Company.

In 1981, it reopened the stores acquired in the Ayr-Way acquisition as Target stores. Stephen Pistner left the parent company to join Montgomery Ward, and Kenneth Macke succeeded him as president of Dayton-Hudson.[20] Floyd Hall succeeded Kenneth Macke as chairman and chief executive officer of Target Stores. Bruce Allbright left the company to work for Woolworth, where he was named chairman and chief executive officer of Woolco. Bob Ulrich also became president and chief executive officer of Diamond's Department Stores.[21] In addition to the Ayr-Way acquisition, Target Stores expanded by opening fourteen new units and a third distribution center in Little Rock, Arkansas, to a total of 151 units and $2.05 billion in sales.[14]

1982–2000: Nationwide expansion[edit]

Since the launch of Target Stores, the company had focused its expansion in the central United States. In 1982, it expanded into the West Coast market by acquiring 33 FedMart stores in Arizona, California, and Texas and opening a fourth distribution center in Los Angeles.[22] Bruce Allbright returned to Target Stores as its vice chairman and chief administrative officer, and the chain expanded to 167 units and $2.41 billion in sales. It sold the Dayton-Hudson Jewelers subsidiary to Henry Birks & Sons of Montreal.[11]

In 1983, the 33 units acquired from FedMart were reopened as Target stores. It also founded the Plums off-price apparel specialty store chain with four units in the Los Angeles area, with an intended audience of middle-to-upper income women.

In 1984, it sold its Plums chain to Ross Stores after only 11 months of operation, and it sold its Diamond's and John A. Brown department store chains to Dillard's.[23][24][25] Meanwhile, Target Stores added nine new units to a total of 215 stores and $3.55 billion in sales. Floyd Hall left the company and Bruce Allbright succeeded him as chairman and chief executive officer of Target Stores. In May 1984, Bob Ulrich became president of the Dayton-Hudson Department Store Division, and in December 1984 became president of Target Stores.[21]

In 1986, the company acquired fifty Gemco stores from Lucky Stores in California, which made Target Stores the dominant retailer in Southern California, as the chain grew to a total of 246 units. It also opened a fifth distribution center in Pueblo, Colorado. Dayton-Hudson sold the B. Dalton Bookseller chain of several hundred units to Barnes & Noble.[12]

In 1987, the acquired Gemco units reopened as Target units, and Target Stores expanded into Michigan and Nevada, including six new units in Detroit, Michigan, to compete directly against Detroit-based Kmart, leading to a total of 317 units in 24 states and $5.3 billion in sales. Bruce Allbright became president of Dayton-Hudson, and Bob Ulrich succeeded him as chairman and chief executive officer of Target Stores.[21] The Dart Group attempted a takeover bid by aggressively buying its stock.[26] Kenneth Macke proposed six amendments to Minnesota's 1983 anti-takeover law, and his proposed amendments were passed that summer by the state's legislature. This prevented the Dart Group from being able to call for a shareholders' meeting for the purpose of electing a board that would favor Dart if their bid were to turn hostile.[27] Dart originally offered $65 a share, and then raised its offer to $68. The stock market crash of October 1987 ended Dart's attempt to take over the company, when Dayton-Hudson stock fell to $28.75 a share the day the market crashed.[11] Dart's move is estimated to have resulted in an after-tax loss of about $70 million.[28]

In 1988, Target Stores expanded into the Northwestern United States by opening eight units in Washington and three in Oregon, to a total of 341 units in 27 states. It also opened a distribution center in Sacramento, California, and replaced the existing distribution center in Indianapolis, Indiana, from the Ayr-Way acquisition with a new one.[14]

In 1989, it expanded by 60 units, especially in the Southeastern United States where it entered Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, to a total of 399 units in 30 states with $7.51 billion in sales.[14] This included an acquisition of 31 more stores from Federated Department Stores' Gold Circle and Richway chains in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, which were later reopened as Target stores.[22] It also sold its Lechmere chain that year to a group of investors including Berkshire Partners, a leveraged buy-out firm based in Boston, Massachusetts, eight Lechmere executives, and two local shopping mall executives.[15]

In 1990, it acquired Marshall Field's from Batus Inc., and Target Stores opened its first Target Greatland general merchandise superstore in Apple Valley, Minnesota. By 1991, Target Stores had opened 43 Target Greatland units, and sales reached $9.01 billion.

In 1992, it created a short-lived chain of apparel specialty stores called Everyday Hero with two stores in Minneapolis.[22] They attempted to compete against other apparel specialty stores such as Gap by offering private label apparel such as its Merona brand.

In 1993, it created a chain of closeout stores called Smarts for liquidating clearance merchandise, such as private label apparel, that did not appeal to typical closeout chains that were only interested in national brands.[29] It operated four Smarts units out of former Target stores in Rancho Cucamonga, California, Des Moines, Iowa, El Paso, Texas, and Indianapolis, Indiana, that each closed out merchandise in nearby distribution centers.[30]

In 1994, Kenneth Macke left the company, and Bob Ulrich succeeded him as the new chairman and CEO of Dayton-Hudson.[16]

In 1995, Target Stores opened its first SuperTarget hypermarket in Omaha, Nebraska. It also closed the four Smarts units after only two years of operation.[30] Its store count increased to 670 with $15.7 billion in sales.[31] It launched the Target Guest Card, the discount retail industry's first store credit card.[11]

In 1996, J.C. Penney Company, Inc., the fifth largest retailer in the United States, offered to buy out Dayton-Hudson, the fourth largest retailer, for $6.82 billion. The offer, which most analysts considered as insufficiently valuing the company, was rebuffed by Dayton-Hudson, saying it preferred to remain independent.[11][32] Target Stores increased its store count to 736 units in 38 states with $17.8 billion in sales, and remained the company's main area of growth while the other two department store subsidiaries underperformed.[31] The middle scale Mervyn's department store chain consisted of 300 units in 16 states, while the upscale Department Stores Division operated 26 Marshall Field's, 22 Hudson's, and 19 Dayton's stores.[11]

In 1997, both of the Everyday Hero stores were closed.[33] Target's store count rose to 796 units, and sales rose to $20.2 billion.[31] In an effort to turn the department store chains around, Mervyn's closed 35 units, including all of its stores in Florida and Georgia. Marshall Field's sold all of its stores in Texas and closed its store in Milwaukee.[11]

In 1998, Dayton-Hudson acquired Greenspring Company's multi-catalog direct marketing unit, Rivertown Trading Company, from Minnesota Communications Group, and it acquired the Associated Merchandising Corporation, an apparel supplier.[34][35] Target Stores grew to 851 units and $23.0 billion in sales.[31] The Target Guest Card program had registered nine million accounts.[11]

In 1999, Dayton-Hudson acquired Fedco and its ten stores in a move to expand its SuperTarget operation into Southern California. It reopened six of these stores under the Target brand and sold the other four locations to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and the Ontario Police Department, and its store count rose to 912 units in 44 states with sales reaching $26.0 billion.[19][31][36] Revenue for Dayton-Hudson increased to $33.7 billion, and net income reached $1.14 billion, passing $1 billion for the first time and nearly tripling the 1996 profits of $463 million. This increase in profit was due mainly to the Target chain, which Ulrich had focused on making feature high-quality products for low prices.[11] On September 7, 1999, the company relaunched its website as an e-commerce site as part of its discount retail division. The site initially offered merchandise that differentiated its stores from its competitors, such as its Michael Graves brand.[37]

Map of Target stores in the US (click to enlarge)

2000–11: Target Corporation[edit]

The point of sale in a Target store
Former popup shop Bullseye Bodega in Midtown Manhattan, now a Delta Air Lines ticket office

In January 2000, Dayton-Hudson Corporation changed its name to Target Corporation and its ticker symbol to TGT; by then, between 75 percent and 80 percent of the corporation's total sales and earnings came from Target Stores, while the other four chains—Dayton's, Hudson's, Marshall Field's, and Mervyns—were used to fuel the growth of the discount chain, which expanded to 977 stores in 46 states and sales reached $29.7 billion by the end of the year.[19] It also separated its e-commerce operations from its retailing division, and combined it with its Rivertown Trading unit into a stand-alone subsidiary called[38] It also started offering the Target Visa, as consumer trends were moving more towards third-party Visa and MasterCards and away from private-label cards such as the Target Guest Card.[11]

In 2001, it launched its online gift registry, and in preparation for this it wanted to operate its upscale Department Stores Division, consisting of 19 Dayton's, 21 Hudson's, and 24 Marshall Field's stores, under a unified department store name. It announced in January that it was renaming its Dayton's and Hudson's stores to Marshall Field's. The name was chosen for multiple reasons: out of the three, Marshall Field's was the most recognizable name in the Department Stores Division, its base in Chicago was bigger than Dayton's base in Minneapolis and Hudson's base in Detroit, Chicago was a major travel hub, and it was the largest chain of the three.[11] Target Stores expanded into Maine, reaching 1,053 units in 47 states and $33.0 billion in sales.[31][39] Around the same time, the chain made a successful expansion into the Pittsburgh market, where Target capitalized on the collapse of Ames Department Stores that coincidentally happened at the same time as Target's expansion into the area.

In 2002, it expanded to 1,147 units, which included stores in San Leandro, Fremont, and Hayward, California, and sales reached $37.4 billion.[19]

In 2003, Target reached 1,225 units and $42.0 billion in sales.[19] Despite the growth of the discount retailer, neither Marshall Field's nor Mervyn's were adding to its store count, and their earnings were consistently declining. Marshall Field's sold two of its stores in Columbus, Ohio, this year.[11]

On June 9, 2004, Target Corporation announced its sale of the Marshall Field's chain to St. Louis-based May Department Stores, which would become effective July 31, 2004. As well, on July 21, 2004, Target Corporation announced the sale of Mervyn's to an investment consortium including Sun Capital Partners, Cerberus Capital Management, and Lubert-Adler/Klaff and Partners, L.P., which was finalized September 2. Target Stores expanded to 1,308 units and reached $46.8 billion USD in sales.

In 2005, Target began operation in Bangalore, India.[40] It reached 1,397 units and $52.6 billion in sales.[19]

In February 2005, Target Corporation took a $65 million charge to change the way it accounted for leases, which would reconcile the way Target depreciated its buildings and calculated rent expense. The adjustment included $10 million for 2004 and $55 million for prior years.[41]

In 2006, Target completed construction of the Robert J. Ulrich Center in Embassy Golf Links in Bangalore, and Target planned to continue its expansion into India with the construction of additional office space at the Mysore Corporate Campus and successfully opened a branch at Mysore.[40] It expanded to 1,488 units, and sales reached $59.4 billion.[42]

On January 9, 2008, Bob Ulrich announced his plans to retire as CEO, and named Gregg Steinhafel as his successor. Ulrich's retirement was due to Target Corporation policy which requires its high-ranking officers to retire at the age of 65. While his retirement as CEO was effective May 1, he remained the chairman of the board until the end of the 2008 fiscal year.

On March 4, 2009, Target expanded outside of the continental United States for the first time. Two stores were opened simultaneously on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, along with two stores in Alaska. Despite the economic downturn, media reports indicated sizable crowds and brisk sales. The opening of the Hawaii stores leaves Vermont as the only state in which Target does not operate.

In June 2010, Target announced its goal to give $1 billion to education causes and charities by 2015. Target School Library Makeovers is a featured program in this initiative.

In August 2010, after a "lengthy wind-down", Target began a nationwide closing of its remaining 262 garden centers, reportedly due to "stronger competition from home-improvement stores, Walmart and independent garden centers". Also, in September 2010, numerous Target locations began adding a fresh produce department to their stores.[43]


On January 22, 2014, Target "informed workers that it is terminating 475 positions at its offices globally."[44] On March 5, 2014, Target Corp.'s Chief Information Officer Beth Jacob resigned, having been in the role since 2008; this is thought to be due to the company's overhaul of its information security systems.[45]

Target Canada[edit]

On January 13, 2011, Target announced its first ever international expansion, into Canada, when it purchased the leaseholds for up to 220 stores of the Canadian sale chain Zellers, which is owned by the Hudson's Bay Company. The deal was announced to have been made for 1.8 billion dollars. The stores would continue to operate as Zellers outlets until Target decided which sites it will renovate and rebrand under its name and logo. CEO Gregg Steinhafel stated that 70% of Canadians were familiar with the brand and that 10% of Canadians had shopped at their stores in the past 12 months.[citation needed] The company has also stated that the company wishes to provide Canadians with a "true Target-brand experience", hinting that its product selection in Canada could vary little from that found in its United States stores. Target Canada plans to have at least 100–150 stores opened in Canada by 2013 and 2014. Target currently has 273 Zellers stores.[46]

2013 Security Breach[edit]

On December 18, 2013, security expert Brian Krebs broke news[47] that Target was investigating a major data breach "potentially involving millions of customer credit and debit card records." The report quickly spread across news channels. On December 19, Target confirmed the incident via a press release,[48] revealing that the hack took place between November 27 and December 15, 2013. Target warned that up to 40 million consumer credit and debit cards may have been compromised. Hackers gained access to customer names, card numbers, expiration dates, and CVV security codes of the cards issued by financial institutions. On December 27 Target disclosed that debit card PIN data had also been stolen, albeit in encrypted form, reversing an earlier stance that PIN data was not part of the breach. Target noted that the accessed PIN numbers were encrypted using Triple DES and has stated the PINs remain "safe and secure" due to the encryption.[49] On January 10, 2014, Target disclosed that the names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses of up to 70 million additional people had also been stolen, bringing the possible number of customers affected up to 110 million.[10]

On March 13, 2014, Bloomberg Businessweek published an article[50] asserting that Target's computer security team was notified of the breach via the FireEye security service they employed, had ample time to disrupt the theft of credit cards and other customer data, but did not act to prevent theft from being carried out.

Target is encouraging customers who shopped at its US stores (online orders were not affected) during the specified timeframe to closely monitor their credit and debit cards for irregular activity. The retailer has also confirmed that it is working with law enforcement, including the United States Secret Service, "to bring those responsible to justice." The data breach has been called the second-largest retail cyber attack in history,[51] and has been compared to the 2009 non-retail Heartland Payment Systems compromise, which affected 130 million credit cards, and to the 2007 retail TJX Companies compromise, which affected 90 million people.[52] As an apology to the public, all Target stores in the United States gave retail shoppers a 10% storewide discount for the weekend of December 21–22, 2013. Target has offered free credit monitoring via Experian to affected customers.[53][54] Target reported total transactions for the same time last year were down 3-4%, as of December 23, 2013.[55][56]

According to TIME Magazine, a 17-year-old Russian teen was suspected to be the author of the Point of Sale (POS) malware program, "BlackPOS", which was used by others to attack unpatched Windows computers used at Target.[57] The teen denied the allegation.[58] Later, a 23-year-old Russian, Rinat Shabayev, claimed to be the malware author.[58][59]

On January 29, 2014, a Target spokeswoman said that the individual(s) who hacked its customers' data had stolen credentials from a store vendor, but did not elaborate on which vendor or which credentials were taken.[60]

As the fallout of the data breach continues, on March 6, 2014, Target announces the resignation of its Chief Information Officer and an overhaul of their information security practices. In a further step to restore faith in customers, the company advises that it will look externally for appointments to both the CIO role and a new Chief Compliance Officer role.[61]

Corporate affairs[edit]


Target Plaza South, a portion of the Target Corporation headquarters complex in downtown Minneapolis; the building originally featured the Target Light System, created by using 3M light pipes[62] but was replaced by more energy-efficient LEDs in 2011.[63]

Target Corporation has its headquarters on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis,[64] near the site of the original Goodfellows store.[citation needed] 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 approximately $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.[65]


As well as the main retail subsidiary, Target Stores, the company owns several other subsidiaries, which include:



Target is a chain of discount stores that are about 95,000 to 135,000 square feet (8,800 to 12,500 m2) and carry hardlines, softlines (clothing), and a limited amount of groceries, mostly non-perishable. Specifically, Target stores carry clothing, shoes, jewelry, health and beauty products, electronics, compact discs, DVDs, bedding, kitchen supplies, sporting goods, toys, pet supplies, automotive supplies, and hardware supplies. They also carry seasonal merchandise such as patio furniture during the summer and Christmas and Hanukkah decorations during November and December. Many stores, depending upon location, may also have Target Optical, Target Clinic, and a portrait studio. Most new locations built after 2004 include Target Photo, Target Pharmacy, Starbucks Coffee, Jamba Juice, and/or a Pizza Hut Express standard in addition to "Target Café". It has also been reported that Cold Stone Creamery and Target have signed a deal to test in-store ice cream shops in three stores.[74] In early 2010 Target updated all references from "Food Avenue" to "Target Café".

The Nicollet Mall, downtown Minneapolis Target, two stories with a varied façade to mimic multiple buildings; the tower in the background is Target Corp. headquarters.
The exterior of the Target in busy West Hollywood, California

While many Target stores share a fairly common big-box store layout, the company has been flexible with its designs. Target operates unique stores across the country in urban locations or within malls, in which a standard one-story building would not be feasible. These stores encompass multiple floors with both sales floor area and offstage areas such as offices or storage rooms spanning a number of these floors. Vertical transportation is provided in the store by escalator, elevator, or shopping cart conveyor, a specialized escalator for carts.

A two-story Target located in the Buckhead district of Atlanta

The first Target stores included leased supermarkets in addition to general merchandise, which during the time was a common practice by discount retailers as they attempted to offer a one-stop shopping experience to customers. Douglas Dayton stated in 1967 that "we believe that the discount-grocery store is a necessary ingredient in what we offer the customer. After all, food sales are about 40% of all department store-type merchandise sales, so the two kinds of stores go hand-in-hand and are what people think of when they think of a discount store." However, by the end of the decade, Target started moving away from this general merchandise and leased supermarket practice. In 1969, Target opened its first store consisting of only general merchandise.[22] As an effort to continue to compete and stand out in the competitive U.S. food market, meat and produce were placed with grocery in two general merchandise Target stores as a test project in early 2009, and many stores are now being expanded to new and re-modeled locations.[75]

The exterior of a new Target store in Miami which takes cues from local architecture

In the past, the one-hour photo processing labs were not owned by Target but by Qualex, a subsidiary of Eastman Kodak, and were staffed by employees of Qualex, not Target. However, in June 2005, Target announced that they would replace the Qualex photo labs with their own labs running Kodak equipment, and would staff them with Target employees. Unlike the previous Qualex labs, all photo processing is done "in house", including next-day, digital, and Kodak Perfect Touch processing, although a few labs have been replaced with "send-out" only service with a self-service Kodak Picture Kiosk. A select number of "test" stores are running with Fujifilm equipment instead of Kodak.[76] Target has also partnered with Yahoo! Photos for online photo services, including ordering prints online for one-hour store pickup. This ended in September 2007. Target Photo now partners with Kodak Gallery, Shutterfly, and Photobucket.

By September 2010, Target Stores with garden centers had stopped stocking live plants and most garden supplies. In about 350 of its stores, Target used some of the space to stock an expanded selection of fresh food, meat and produce, with the remaining 700 stores gaining space for seasonal items.[43]

Target opened many stores branded as Target Greatland in the 2000s, but eventually phased out the name and converted all of these stores to either regular Target stores or SuperTarget stores.


During 2009, a new store prototype was developed for general merchandise stores. These stores, dubbed PFresh, include an array of perishable and frozen foods, meat, and dairy. Produce selections include select, barcoded fruits and vegetables, and pre-bagged items like bananas to eliminate the need for scales and weight-based pricing. They do not have an in-house bakery or deli, but carry a small number of baked goods and pre-packed deli items. Product includes a few national brands, but heavily focus on Target's owned-brand products such as Archer Farms and Market Pantry. The initial rollout of PFresh included about 100 stores. Most of these were existing stores that remodeled and expanded space to accommodate the new grocery layout, but some newly built stores that opened in 2009 incorporated the new format as well. The PFresh concept was to be rolled out across 350 stores, either by remodel or as new store openings, by 2010. On average, a PFresh store is about 1,500 square feet (140 m2) larger than a general merchandise Target store, but is not labeled a SuperTarget as these stores' grocery aisles are still markedly smaller than those of the hypermarket.[77]


SuperTarget logo, 2006–present.
The exterior of a typical SuperTarget in Salt Lake City. Shown is the merchandise loading lane between the double entrances on the front of the building.

SuperTarget is a chain of hypermarkets that are about 174,000 sq ft (16,200 m2)[78] and feature double entrances on one-story stores. The first SuperTarget opened in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1995 and is the largest at 204,000 square feet (19,000 m2). The second SuperTarget opened in Lawrence, Kansas, the same year.[79] As of October 2008, Target operated 218 SuperTarget stores in 22 US states, the majority of which are in Texas and Florida, with sizable numbers in Minnesota and Colorado.[19][80]

Until 2006, the store logo spelled "Super" in green script, while newer locations are signed in red block letters in the Helvetica typeface in favor of a streamlined brand look.[18] These stores offer everything found in a regular Target as well as a full grocery selection, produce, bakery and deli, with most locations having a Target Optical. Many SuperTargets feature Starbucks Coffee, Pizza Hut Express, Taco Bell Express, Target Pharmacy, The Studio @ Target (a portrait studio), Target Photo, Target Mobile (a wireless kiosk), and a Wells Fargo bank or U.S. Bank. In the past, some SuperTargets featured an E-Trade trading station in place of a bank, though E-Trade removed all of their SuperTarget branches in June 2003.[81] Mitchell Caplan, E-Trade's CEO at that time, said, "We were not able to make it into a profitable distribution channel...[w]e're better off exiting." E-Trade also sent a letter of notification to their customers informing them about this change. Select stores in Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and Virginia have a new Target Clinic concept.[82] Unlike other hypermarkets, such as most Walmart supercenters, SuperTargets are not open 24 hours.


On February 15, 2011, Target announced plans to open a new store concept, called CityTarget. The first stores were opened in July, 2012, in Chicago, Seattle, and Los Angeles.[83][84][85] The Chicago store allocates approximately 55,000 square feet (5,100 m2) to its sales floor. CityTarget stores carry groceries, prescriptions, cosmetics, clothing, electronics, toys, and apartment essentials such as furniture, linens, and kitchen utensils. Certain items too bulky for urban apartments or for customers to carry are not stocked in CityTarget stores, even if they are stocked in suburban Target stores.

Urban stores[edit]

Target has used its urban store concept to open multiple-story stores in city centers, such as in Annapolis, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans, Minneapolis (within the corporation's headquarters complex), Glendale, California, Pasadena, California, Portland, Oregon, Stamford, Connecticut, and Homewood, Alabama.[86] In July 2010, a Target store opened in New York's East Harlem.[87] The company also opened an urban store in Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood in July 2011.[88] In March 2012, as part of its Canadian expansion, an urban store opened in downtown Mississauga. It is the largest Target store in Canada, and one of the main anchors of the Square One Shopping Centre.

Building stores in urban environments carries an elevated cost which is offset by the high potential for business that urban locations can bring in. The Target store located on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis features a three-story glass entrance and a design that sets it apart from suburban Target stores. This urban store alone cost Target Corporation US$16.3 million.[89] The urban concept has also been used to convert SuperTarget stores from former Bullock's, Montgomery Ward, J. W. Robinson's, Robinsons-May and Younkers stores.[90]

Distribution centers[edit]

Regional distribution centers[edit]

As of January 2010, Target Corporation operated 37 distribution centers across the United States.[91] Target opened three new distribution centers in 2006 (Rialto, California, DeKalb, Illinois) and one in 2009 (Newton, North Carolina) to support the growth of its stores. 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.[12]

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 seventeen stores after having expanded into Oklahoma and Texas.[14]

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 ten nearby Target stores. Here, RFID tags would be 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.[92] As of 2009, RFID had been phased out of the Dallas–Fort Worth 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.[93]

Food distribution centers[edit]

SuperTarget and PFresh stores require fresh produce, refrigerated and frozen items. Food distribution centers owned by SuperValu have been utilized by Target for many years. In October 2003, SuperValu's facility in Phoenix, Arizona, was converted to serve Target exclusively.[94] The same change was implemented at the SuperValu center in Fort Worth, Texas.[95] A new distribution center was constructed by Target in Lake City, Florida, to serve the Southeast, but it is operated by SuperValu.[94] 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 utilizing the same dispatch office.[95] Other warehouses owned by SuperValu are still used in other regions, but Target plans to replace those over the next few years.[94] In Colorado, stores are serviced through FreshPack Produce Inc. of Denver.[12] In the mid-Atlantic region/Philadelphia market, C&S Whole Grocers services the fresh produce, meat, dairy, bakery, & frozen needs to "PFresh" stores.

Import warehouses[edit]

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.[95]

Fulfillment centers[edit]

Internet sales orders from the Target Direct division, which operates from the 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.[95]

Products and image[edit]

Typical interior of a Target store
A newer Target store design that opened in 2008 in Manahawkin, New Jersey

Target Corporation competes directly against other discount retailers, mainly Walmart and Kmart. 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."[14]

As a result, Target stores tend to attract younger and more educated and affluent customers than Walmart, among other competitors. The median Target shopper is 41 years old, the youngest of all major discount retailers that Target competes directly against. The median household income of Target's customer base is roughly $63,000. Roughly 76% of Target customers are female, and more than 45% have children at home. About 80% have attended college and 48% have completed college.[19][80] 97% of American consumers recognize the Target Bullseye logo.

In October 2008, Target announced plans to fight the perception that their products are more expensive than those of other discount retailers. It planned to add perishables to their inventory, cut back on discretionary items, and spend 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.[96][97][98]

Target stores are designed to be more attractive than large box-department 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 Atlanta, Georgia near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Rosemont, Illinois, near O'Hare International Airport, and Richfield, Minnesota, adjacent to Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport, are among such locations.[99] Target doesn't use music in its stores, nor does it promote items or services through its public address system.

Some people jokingly give Target the pseudo-French pronunciation /tɑrˈʒ/ tar-ZHAY, as though it were an upscale boutique. This trend is incorrectly believed to have been started by Oprah Winfrey, when she used the French pronunciation to refer to the store on her television show, but has actually been traced back to 1962, the year the first Target store opened. Target once sold a line of shoes called "Ms Targe"[100] 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.[12] In recognition of the nickname's popularity and cachet, Target Corporation licensed its name and logo to Brand Central LLC in 2006, complete with accent over the letter "E", for a new line of clothing intended for more up-scale fashion customers. The line, "Targét Couture", was originally sold at Los Angeles-based store Intuition, which deals with high-end brands.[101][102]

Target uses a practice that was derived in 1989 from The Walt Disney Company[12] by calling its customers "Guests", its employees "Team Members", and its supervisors "Team Leaders". Also, managers are known as "Executive Team Leaders (ETLs)" 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)", Regional Team Leaders (RTL) (sometimes also Regional Vice President), and finally corporate-level executives.

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. They do not sell tobacco products and have not sold cigarettes since 1996.[103] This is a key point of differentiation with Target's chief competitor Walmart, which offers firearms and tobacco at many stores.

Target has many exclusive deals with various designers and name brands, including Michael Graves, Isaac Mizrahi, Mossimo Giannulli, Fiorucci, Liz Lange, and Converse, among others. To further increase their fashion profile, Target also created its fashion-forward Go International line, which hires famous designers to design collections available only for a few months. Target, after hiring architect Michael Graves to design the scaffolding used to renovate the Washington Monument and contributing $6 million USD to the restoration plan, introduced its first designer line of products in 1999, the Michael Graves Collection of housewares and home decor products.[104] 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. Recently, Sony created a line of electronics under the Sony LIV name geared toward women. The collection included a CD player that resembled a purse and a CD player that was equipped to be mounted under the kitchen counter. Another example of this is Target having an exclusive deal with Food Network for selling DVDs of TV shows featuring popular chefs such as Rachael Ray, Alton Brown, and Paula Deen. In July 2006, Target started selling two-tone pink edition Apple iPods through a partnership with Colorware. 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.[105]

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.[106]

Gift cards[edit]

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.[107] The unique designs of their cards contribute to their higher sales, as well as Target's policy of no expiration dates or service fees.[108] 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 giftcard that allows the sender to record a voice message. A current environmentally friendly giftcard is made from bioplastic manufactured from corn.[109] Target rolled out a new MP3 player giftcard 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.[citation needed]

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 a credit or stored value card with wood layer" to inventors Amy L. Lauer and John D. Mayhew.[110] 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.[111] Both patents have been assigned by their inventors to Target Brands, Inc.

Target GiftCards are also collectors 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 ClearRx prescription bottles

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[112] by student Deborah Adler and was named one of TIME's "Most Amazing Inventions of 2005".[113]


Target Corporation 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.[114] According to a November 2005 Forbes article, it ranked as the highest cash-giving company in America in percentage of income given (2.1%).[115] 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[116] 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 between November 25, 2005, and January 25, 2006. In 2006, they created another joint effort called "The Target/Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree",[117] which is an online version of the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program;[118] 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.[119]

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.

Environmental record[edit]

Target Corporation agreed to reduce their sales on all materials containing polyvinyl chloride (PVC).[120] Testers found toxic lead and phthalates and large amounts of PVC in toys, lunchboxes, baby bibs, jewelry, garden hoses, mini blinds, Christmas trees, and electronics.[120] Several studies have shown that chemicals in vinyl chloride can cause serious health problems for children and adults.[120] 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.[120] 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."[120] Other companies reducing the PVC on their shelves include Walmart, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, and Apple.[120] Target stores have been taking environmental measures by reusing materials within their stores and recycling products such as broken hangers, cardboard, and rechargeable batteries.[121] Target is beginning to reduce energy use with energy-efficient storefronts, and reducing waste with recycling programs.[122] 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.[123]

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 waste water by 30%. Some Target stores are installing roof gardens or green roofs, which absorb storm water 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, 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.[124]

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.[125] Target and MBH Architects were awarded the "Green Lights Partner/Ally of the Year Award".[126]

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.[127]

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 which 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."[128] 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.[129]

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 mislead 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. [130]

Target Forensic Services[edit]

In 2006, The Washington Post revealed that Target is operating two sophisticated criminal forensics laboratories, one at its headquarters and the other in Las Vegas.[131] Originally, the lab was created with the role of investigating internal instances of theft and 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 federal agencies such as the United States Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The labs have become such a popular resource for law enforcement that Target has had to restrict its assistance to violent felonies.[132][133]

Animal welfare concerns[edit]

In 2011, Mercy for Animals, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies, uncovered animal abuse at a Target egg supplier.[134]

Hidden-camera footage shot at Sparboe Farms—a significant egg supplier to Target, McDonald's, Sam's Club, SuperValu, and Hy-Vee—revealed hens crammed into filthy wire cages, unable to fully stretch their wings or engage in most other natural behaviors. The investigator documented workers burning off the beaks of chicks without painkillers, torturing animals, and throwing live birds into plastic bags and leaving them to suffocate. Dead hens were left to rot alongside birds who were still laying eggs for human consumption.

The investigation received international media attention, airing first on ABC's Good Morning America,[135] World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer,[136] and 20/20.[137] As a result of the investigation and the public outcry that followed, Target immediately discontinued its relationship with the company.[138][139][140]


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."[141]

The Target employee diversity initiative is called "All Together Target".[142] It specifically seeks to work with vendors and contractors that are owned by minorities or women.[143]

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.[144] In addition, Target Corporation was named one of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" in 2004 by Working Mother.[145]

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-".[146][147][148] In 2006, when Target was asked why it didn't participate in the survey again,[149] a representative explained, "Target views diversity as being inclusive of all people from all different backgrounds, not just one group."[150]

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."[151] 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 site.[152]

On 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.[153] 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.[154]

Major sponsorships[edit]

The Target Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar visiting Purdue University

Target owns the naming rights to the Target Center and Target Field in Minneapolis. It also is a long-time sponsor of the IndyCar and NASCAR racing teams of Chip Ganassi Racing.[citation needed] Target's relationship with Ganassi in IndyCar go back to 1990, sponsoring Eddie Cheever, and some of their most famous drivers in the 1990s include Arie Luyendyk, Michael Andretti and Bryan Herta. 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.[citation needed] Ganassi won their first Indianapolis 500 in 2000. The team moved full-time into the rival Indy Racing League in 2003,[citation needed] and won in its first year of full-time competition, with Scott Dixon. Dixon 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 (Dixon-5, Franchitti-5) and tied the team record from 1998 where 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.[citation needed]

Target started sponsoring stock cars in 2001 with Sterling Marlin, when Chip Ganassi bought into the Felix Sabates stock car team.[citation needed] In the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, the No. 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 No. 41 when Mears moved to a different Chip Ganassi 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 No. 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 No. 42 driven by Juan Pablo Montoya with the newly formed Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.[citation needed] Target also sponsored Earnhardt Ganassi Racing's No. 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 No. 42 in 2014, and Target sponsored the No. 51 of Phoenix Racing for Larson's Sprint Cup Series debut.[155]

The Target Chip Ganassi[156] car driven by Dario Franchitti won the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday May 30, 2010.[157]

Target Corporation is a major sponsor of the annual Minneapolis Aquatennial, where it hosts the Target Fireworks Show. It is the largest annual fireworks show west of the Mississippi River, and the fourth largest annual fireworks show in the United States.[158]

Target also sponsors the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. It hosts Target Free Friday Nights, providing to all visitors free admission to the museum during Fridays after 4 pm.[citation needed] The company also hosts Target First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum. A similar Target-sponsored program at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art called "Free after Five" provides free admission in the evening throughout the week. Tuesdays are free at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, courtesy of Target. In its hometown of Minneapolis, Target sponsors the Target Free Thursday Nights at the Walker Art Center, where admission is free after 4 pm as well, as in its sister-city Saint Paul, hosting "Target Third Free Sundays" at the Minnesota Children's Museum. In Boston, Target sponsors $1 Friday Nights at the Boston Children's Museum from 5:00 to 9:00 pm.[citation needed]

Target is the founding sponsor of the Weekend America radio program. Target often supports major awards shows such as the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, and the Golden Globes. In the past,[vague] it has participated in the Tournament of Roses Parade with a corporate float.[citation needed]

Target was a sponsor of the Times Square 2006–2007 New Year's Ball Drop and had its logo placed on the confetti dropped during the celebrations as well as specially designed "2007" glasses.[159]

Holiday advertising[edit]

Promoting Christmas sales is a hallmark of Target's advertising. Target has enlisted many singing personalities to promote its holiday sales. Amy Grant and Charlotte Church have been among the spokespersons seen over the years. One particular Christmas campaign featured LeAnn Rimes performing "Holiday in your Heart" with the Looney Tunes characters (Bugs Bunny, etc.) line dancing along.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


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