retail news in context, analysis with attitude

In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports that Target, reeling from declining holiday sales and traffic, has decided that this is the time to back off its "innovation agenda" and "double down on its core business." The story says that "many of the initiatives being halted were launched during the watch of CEO Brian Cornell, but at a time when the company was seeing sales growth. In the last nine months, store traffic and sales have been on the decline with grocery and electronics being particular soft spots."

According to the story, Target "has killed Goldfish, a secretive e-commerce start-up it green-lighted a year ago, and has shelved a prototype for a robot-infused store of the future that was slated to soon be built, according to four sources familiar with the matter.

"Other smaller projects from the innovation team also have been eliminated or reduced in recent weeks.

"The cutbacks have left some within the company unsettled about Target’s long-term plans for growth and innovation, especially as more consumers are flocking to Amazon."

The company says that it is still committed to finding innovative approaches to various segments of its business, but that this is just a matter of pausing to evaluate its business and making tough choices.
KC's View:
The problem is that while Target is retrenching, everybody else is going to be innovating. Nobody is going to wait for Target to catch up. I think it is important to do both. To do otherwise is to concede a kind of defeat.

Just in general, I hate it when companies start to talk about getting back to fundamentals. For the most part, fundamentals are table stakes. If you're not doing all the basic, core stuff right, it is a little late to get back to them.