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Target CEO says monitoring Omicron, how inflation will affect shoppers – WCCO

NEW YORK (AP) – Target is entering the final stretch of the holiday season with plenty of momentum.

CEO Brian Cornell reports that holiday sales continue to stay strong even amid worries about the new omicron variant. Like its major rivals, Target has been able to weather industry-wide challenges such as labor shortages, inflation, and supply chain constraints as the discount company fills store shelves and supplies supplies. Full 100,000 seasonal employees.

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Under Cornell’s management, Target accelerated its online services such as curbside pickup and same-day services while expanding its stores ahead of the pandemic. The company raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour in 2020, a pledge it pledged in 2017 and far ahead of many grocery rivals.

However, Cornell predicts that supply chain problems will persist for the next few years, and he is watching to see how inflation will affect shopping habits at Target.

The Associated Press recently interviewed Cornell, 62, on topics ranging from omicrons to inflation and wages and Target’s decision to no longer open stores on Thanksgiving. His answers have been edited for clarity and verbosity.

Q. How worried are you about omicrons?

A. We will continue to make sure that we work with professionals. We already have a dedicated team, a coronavirus task force that we set up in January 2020. And they will continue to guide us on the steps we must take to make sure that we do. focus on the safety of our team and the safety of our guests.

Q. Do you see any changes in shopping behavior because of omicrons?

A. I see customers shopping in our stores, shopping all of our categories. So I didn’t see any change in the shopping patterns we were expecting. But as you’ve seen us during the pandemic, we know we have to be flexible based on the needs of our guests so that if they suddenly decide to switch from using the stores or back to day services, we I ready them.

Q. What habits will stick to when the pandemic is over?

A. I hope the store will continue to be really important in the future. And apparently, Americans have learned to use their smartphones and tablets to shop online. And I think we’re seeing all sorts of cohorts adopting both in-store shopping and using our day services, and I think day services will be around for many years. next.

Q. What do you think is making retail employees unhappy?

A. I can’t really talk about what’s going on in other industries and other companies. But I know our teams want the chance to have a rewarding career where they want to work, and it shows in our engagement and retention rates each week.

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Q. How are you thinking about salary?

A. We offered an extra $2 to our groups on weekends (holidays). And while $15 is what we set city by city, town by town, we measure what our salary should be to make sure we’re competitive, we’re attract and retain talent.

Q. Do you think Target will lose workers as a result of federally mandated vaccinations?

A. It’s really hard to say at this point. And again, we wanted to make sure we gave our team members the opportunity to have the options assigned. So whether it’s vaccinations or testing, we want to make sure we give them those options and hope they continue to find Target a great place to work.

Q. What percentage of Target workers are vaccinated?

A. We are compiling that information. I haven’t, but we’ll certainly be in a position as we head into the year to understand exactly what percentages have been vaccinated and what team members will be asked to test weekly.

Q. Has inflation changed shopping habits at Target?

A. I think it’s still too early. We’ll learn more about how consumers respond to price inflation over the next six months. And do they choose an alternative brand? Did they decide to buy one of our own brands? So we’ll watch that very carefully.

Q. When do you think the supply chain problems will subside?

A: I think this is going to be something that will happen for many years as we invest and really take our supply chain capabilities across the US to another level. We have stock available in the system to meet their needs. But supply chain pressures won’t go away on January 1. It’s actually driven by extremely strong demand and a very healthy US consumer.

Q. Target has announced that it will permanently close its stores on Thanksgiving. Why haven’t other major retailers followed your lead?

A. I’m not sure what they’re going to do, but we step back and say, ‘What’s right for our team? What is right for our guests? ‘ And I really understand how important it is to allow our team members to enjoy Thanksgiving with their friends and family.

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https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2021/12/15/target-ceo-omicron-inflation/ Target CEO says monitoring Omicron, how inflation will affect shoppers – WCCO

JACLYN DIAZ

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