Will Target own the Christmas season as it moves past its inventory glut?
Target CEO Brian Cornell is nothing but positive on the chain’s prospects for the 2022 holiday season.
Mr. Cornell spoke on Monday with Brian Sozzi at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit and addressed Target’s approach to culling excess inventory through aggressive promotions that began in June.
“We put that inventory problem behind us,” he said. “And now we can focus on great execution, delighting our guests, getting ready for the big holiday season. So we were pretty decisive and said, we’re not going to just let this roll into the next quarter. We’ll deal with it up front. And now we’re excited that we’re ready to play for the holiday season.”
Mr. Cornell doesn’t expect talk of a recession to slow his company down as high employment levels help to offset inflation rates that are at decades high levels.
“Everyone’s talking about recession. And sitting here today, there’s different points of view. You talk to bank CEOs. Some gloom and doom. Others are saying really healthy consumer [spending]. What we’ve seen all year long is really healthy traffic and a guest that’s shopping in our stores and shopping online so that strength in traffic has been driving our business. We’ve delivered solid comps throughout this year. We expect that to continue over the balance of the holiday season.”
Mr. Cornell’s traffic assertion is backed by research from Placer.ai. Store traffic grew 3.2 percent year-over-year during the week of October 3-9, which included Target’s Deal Days sales promotion to kick off the holiday season. Traffic growth for the week was double the year-over-year gain for the previous seven days. The retailer has posted weekly year-over-year gains in foot traffic going back to mid-August.
Target’s CEO sidestepped a question about an emphasis on self-checkout and the large number of closed cashier checkout lanes at a local store. He maintained that the chain’s stores will be well staffed for the holidays. The retailer plans to add 100,000 seasonal workers to its payroll, down from 130,000 last year.
Mr. Cornell said he was confident that Target would meet its hiring goal and put seasonal employees to work stocking and organizing stores, packing and shipping online purchases, assisting customers and handling pickup duties. Target expects that about 30 percent of seasonal workers will remain with the company beyond the holidays.
- Target CEO Brian Cornell talks business, supply chains, and retail partnerships – Yahoo Finance
- Target Finds a Winning Deals Day Formula – Placer.ai
- Did Target just move Black Friday up to October 7? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think is behind Target’s continuing shopper traffic gains and do you expect the trend to continue through the rest of 2022? Do you see staffing, inventory or other specific challenges taking any of the shine off of Target’s holiday season performance?