retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Speaking to an audience of some 14,000 Target employees at the company's annual fall meeting in Minneapolis, the company's new CEO, Brian Cornell, laud out his priorities for the company, saying that it has to "re-prioritize the categories it built its legacy on, including style, apparel, home and beauty," according to a story in USA Today.

"Going forward we have to regain our merchandising authority," Cornell said. "We need to be cool again." He said that Target needs to return to its core mission, expressed best by its longtime slogan, "Expect more. Pay less."

USA Today reports that the company is making moves on several fronts, including embracing mobile technologies that make the company more accessible to shoppers. But most important is working on selection in virtually every category - including grocery - and making sure that it doesn't focus just on price, but differentiating through the offering of exclusive merchandise.

Keeping focus, the company says, is critical. The Wall Street Journal writes that "the new strategy is a significant about-face for a business that for decades has pushed to build bigger stores offering everything from toilet paper to televisions and camisoles to carrots. While one-stop shopping worked for years, chains like Target and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are finding that scale is a disadvantage in the wake of the recession, as shoppers seek out smaller stores closer to home."
KC's View:
One of the things that Target executives say is that they need to get past the point where every story about the company refers to the recent and mammoth data breach in the second paragraph. That's true, and it may take some time.

The real key, I think, is that Target has to stop playing defense … and has to start playing offense and stay focused on, well, the target.