retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Target Corp. "is dropping shipping fees for all online orders from Oct. 22 through Dec. 20, raising the stakes in the battle with Amazon.com , Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other retailers for shoppers who avoid brick-and-mortar stores … The promotion is one step Target is taking as it tries to bounce back from last year’s disastrous holiday season when a huge data breach hit the retailer in the weeks before Christmas, leading to its worst customer-traffic levels since it began reporting the number in 2008."

Of course, Target already offered free shipping for orders of $50 or more, or for customers using Target-branded credit or debit cards. Amazon offers two-day "free" shipping to people who pay to be part of its Prime program, or 5-8 day free shipping to to people spending $35 or more. And Walmart offers 6-9 day free shipping on orders over $50.
KC's View:
This is an early shot across the bow of other retailers in what I think most observers expect to be a highly competitive holiday shopping season. Target's got bigger problems than some, but as long as it can fulfill its orders on time, this should be seen as a smart move.