Target Corporation

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For the defunct Canadian subsidiary, see Target Canada. For the separate Australian company, see Target Australia.
Target Corporation
NYSETGT (S&P 500 Component)
Formerly called
  • Goodfellow Dry Goods
  • Dayton's Dry Goods Company
  • The Dayton Company
  • Dayton-Hudson Corporation
Industry Retail
Founded 1902; 113 years ago (1902)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Founder George Dayton
Headquarters Target Plaza North
Target Plaza South
1000 Nicollet Mall,
Minneapolis, Minnesota
, U.S.
Number of locations
1,801[1] (2015)
Area served
United States
  • Beauty and health products
  • clothing and accessories
  • electronics
  • food
  • furniture
  • housewares
  • movies
  • music
  • books
  • gardening supplies
  • pet supplies
  • office supplies
  • shoes
  • sports equipment
  • toys
Revenue Increase US$72.618 billion[2] (2014)
Decrease US$4.535 billion[3] (2014)
Decrease US$ -1.636 billion[3] (2014)
Total assets Decrease US$41.404 billion[3] (2014)
Total equity Decrease US$13.997 billion[3] (2014)
Number of employees
347,000 (2015)
  • Financial and Retail Services
  • Target Brands
  • Target Sourcing Services
Slogan Expect More. Pay Less.

Target Corporation is an American retailer that operates large retail stores primarily across North America that offer a multitude of goods. It is the second-largest discount retailer in the United States, behind Walmart, and is a component of the S&P 500 Index.[4][5] Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the company was founded as Goodfellow Dry Goods in 1902. The first Target store was opened in 1962; it became the largest division of the Dayton-Hudson Corporation, and was consequently renamed the Target Corporation in 2000.

As of 2015, Target operates 1,801 locations throughout the United States. Their retail formats include the discount store Target, the hypermarket SuperTarget, and small-format stores previously named CityTarget and TargetExpress before being consolidated under the Target branding. Its Canadian subsidiary was established in March 2013, and operated 133 locations by the time it was shuttered in April 2015.[6][7][8] Wesfarmers began operating an Australian version of Target in 1973, although aside from naming rights, the American and Australian companies are unaffiliated.


George Draper Dayton started Goodfellow Dry Goods in 1902, changing its name to Dayton's Dry Goods Company in 1903 and shortening the moniker to The Dayton Company eight years later in 1911. Fifty-one years later, in 1962, the organization opened its first Target store, modeled as a discount version of their department stores. In 1969, it expanded department store operations while merging with J.L. Hudson Company, thereafter named Dayton-Hudson Corporation. Following the union, two more retailers were purchased, Mervyn's in 1978 as well as Marshall Field & Company in 1990.

Halfway through the 1970s, Target became the leading producer of revenue for the corporation, with annual sales reaching $1 billion right before the 1980s. The first Target Greatland store opened on September 30, 1990 in Apple Valley, Minnesota (taking its name from a popular Dayton's clothing line), providing a larger range of goods than their conventional stores. Halfway through the decade, SuperTarget, which included a photo studio, dining establishments, a pharmacy as well as grocery aisles was debuted. To end the century, the company changed its name to Target Corporation, divesting itself in 2004 of both Mervyn's and Marshall Field & Company. Eight years later, the corporation began its first CityTarget, catering to urban clientele in stores 65% smaller than their typical locations.[9]

On June 15, 2015, CVS Health announced an agreement to acquire Target's pharmacy and retail clinic businesses. The deal expanded CVS into new markets in Seattle, Denver, Portland and Salt Lake City. The acquisition includes more than 1,660 pharmacies in 47 states. CVS will operate them through a store-within-a-store format. Target's nearly 80 clinic locations will be rebranded as MinuteClinic, and CVS plans to open up to 20 new clinics in their stores within three years.[10]



A typical Target store in Charlotte, North Carolina.
A newer Target store in Overland Park, Kansas.

Target is a chain of discount stores that are about 95,000 to 135,000 square feet (8,800 to 12,500 m2) and carry hardlines, softlines (clothing),and groceries, mostly non-perishable. Specifically, Target stores carry clothing, shoes, jewelry, health and beauty products, electronics, compact discs, DVDs, bedding, kitchen supplies, sporting goods, toys, pet supplies, automotive supplies, and hardware supplies. They also carry seasonal merchandise such as patio furniture during the summer and Christmas and Hanukkah decorations during November and December. Many stores, depending upon location, may also have Target Optical, Target Clinic, and a portrait studio. Most new locations built after 2004 include Target Photo, Target Pharmacy, Starbucks Coffee, Jamba Juice, and/or a Pizza Hut Express standard in addition to "Target Café". It has also been reported that Cold Stone Creamery and Target have signed a deal to test in-store ice cream shops in three stores.[11] In early 2010 Target updated all references from "Food Avenue" to "Target Café".

While many Target stores share a fairly common big-box store layout, the company has been flexible with its designs. Target operates unique stores across the country in urban locations or within malls, in which a standard one-story building would not be feasible. These stores encompass multiple floors with both sales floor area and offstage areas such as offices or storage rooms spanning a number of these floors. Vertical transportation is provided in the store by escalator, elevator, or shopping cart conveyor, a specialized escalator for carts.

The first Target stores included leased supermarkets in addition to general merchandise, which during the time was a common practice by discount retailers as they attempted to offer a one-stop shopping experience to customers. Douglas Dayton stated in 1967 that "we believe that the discount-grocery store is a necessary ingredient in what we offer the customer. After all, food sales are about 40% of all department store-type merchandise sales, so the two kinds of stores go hand-in-hand and are what people think of when they think of a discount store." However, by the end of the decade, Target started moving away from this general merchandise and leased supermarket practice. In 1969, Target opened its first store consisting of only general merchandise.[12] As an effort to continue to compete and stand out in the competitive U.S. food market, meat and produce were placed with grocery in two general merchandise Target stores as a test project in early 2009, and many stores are now being expanded to new and re-modeled locations.[13]

In the past, the one-hour photo processing labs were not owned by Target but by Qualex, a subsidiary of Eastman Kodak, and were staffed by employees of Qualex, not Target. However, in June 2005, Target announced that they would replace the Qualex photo labs with their own labs running Kodak equipment, and would staff them with Target employees. Unlike the previous Qualex labs, all photo processing is done "in house", including next-day, digital, and Kodak Perfect Touch processing, although a few labs have been replaced with "send-out" only service with a self-service Kodak Picture Kiosk. A select number of "test" stores are running with Fujifilm equipment instead of Kodak.[14] Target has also partnered with Yahoo! Photos for online photo services, including ordering prints online for one-hour store pickup. This ended in September 2007. Target Photo now partners with Kodak Gallery, Shutterfly, and Photobucket.

By September 2010, Target Stores with garden centers had stopped stocking live plants and most garden supplies. In about 350 of its stores, Target used some of the space to stock an expanded selection of fresh food, meat and produce, with the remaining 700 stores gaining space for seasonal items.[15]

Target has used its urban store concept to open multiple-story stores in city centers, such as in Annapolis, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans, Minneapolis (within the corporation's headquarters complex), Glendale, California, Pasadena, California, Portland, Oregon, Stamford, Connecticut, and Homewood, Alabama.[16] In July 2010, a Target store opened in New York's East Harlem.[17] The company also opened an urban store in Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood in July 2011.[18]

Building stores in urban environments carries an elevated cost, offset by the high potential for business that urban locations can bring in. The Target store located on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis features a three-story glass entrance and a design that sets it apart from suburban Target stores. This urban store alone cost Target Corporation US$16.3 million.[19] The urban concept has also been used to convert SuperTarget stores from former Bullock's, Montgomery Ward, J. W. Robinson's, Robinsons-May and Younkers stores.[20]


The exterior of a typical SuperTarget in Charlotte, North Carolina.

SuperTarget is a chain of hypermarkets that are about 174,000 sq ft (16,200 m2)[21] and feature double entrances on one-story stores. The first SuperTarget opened in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1995 and is the largest at 204,000 square feet (19,000 m2). The second SuperTarget opened in Lawrence, Kansas, the same year.[22] As of October 2008, Target operated 218 SuperTarget stores in 22 US states, the majority of which are in Texas and Florida, with sizable numbers in Minnesota and Colorado.[23][24]

Until 2006, the store logo spelled "Super" in green script, while newer locations are signed in red block letters in the Helvetica typeface in favor of a streamlined brand look.[25] These stores offer everything found in a regular Target as well as a full grocery selection, produce, bakery and deli, with most locations having a Target Optical. Many SuperTargets feature Starbucks Coffee, Pizza Hut Express, Taco Bell Express, Target Pharmacy, The Studio @ Target (a portrait studio), Target Photo, Target Mobile (a wireless kiosk), and a Wells Fargo or U.S. Bank bank branch. In the past, some SuperTargets featured an E-Trade trading station in place of a bank, but E-Trade removed all of their SuperTarget branches in June 2003.[26] Mitchell Caplan, E-Trade's CEO at that time, said, "We were not able to make it into a profitable distribution channel...[w]e're better off exiting." Select stores in Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and Virginia have a new Target Clinic concept.[27] Unlike other hypermarkets, such as Meijer or most Walmart supercenters, SuperTargets are not open 24 hours.

Small-format Target[edit]

The exterior of the CityTarget in Boston, Massachusetts, now re-branded as Target.

While typical Target locations are approximately 130,000 square feet (12,000 m2), the majority of small-format CityTarget stores are roughly 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2). The first stores were opened in July 2012, in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle;[28] the 160,000 square feet (15,000 m2) location in Boston is the largest CityTarget, and opened in July 2015.[29] TargetExpress stores hover around 14,000 square feet (1,300 m2) to 21,000 square feet (2,000 m2); the first opened in Dinkytown near the University of Minnesota in July 2014.[30] Products in these small-format properties are typically sold in smaller packages geared towards customers using public transportation; locations built in college communities often carry an extended home department of apartment and dormitory furnishings.[31]

In August 2015, Target announced that it would rename its nine CityTarget and five TargetExpress stores as Target beginning that October, deciding that "Big or small, our stores have one thing in common: They're all Target."[29] The first small-format stores under the unified naming scheme opened later that month in Chicago, Rosslyn, San Diego, and San Francisco.[32]

Former stores and concepts[edit]

Target Greatland stores were described as being fifty-percent larger than a typical Target location; they pioneered technologies including an increased number of checkout lanes and price scanners and conveniences including larger aisles, expanded pharmacy and photography departments, and food court options for future Target stores. The first Target Greatland was opened in Apple Valley, Minnesota in September 1990;,[33] and Target stopped using the Greatland banner around 2004. Since then, Target has been phasing out the Greatland name, with one of the few remaining Target stores carrying the Greatland name located in South Commack, New York.[34]

During 2009, a new store prototype was developed for general merchandise stores. These stores, dubbed PFresh, include an array of perishable and frozen foods, meat, and dairy. Produce selections include select, barcoded fruits and vegetables, and pre-bagged items like bananas to eliminate the need for scales and weight-based pricing. They do not have an in-house bakery or deli, but carry a small number of baked goods and pre-packed deli items. Product includes a few national brands, but heavily focus on Target's owned-brand products such as Archer Farms and Market Pantry. The initial rollout of PFresh included about 100 stores. Most of these were existing stores that remodeled and expanded space to accommodate the new grocery layout, but some newly built stores that opened in 2009 incorporated the new format as well. The PFresh concept was to be rolled out across 350 stores, either by remodel or as new store openings, by 2010. On average, a PFresh store is about 1,500 square feet (140 m2) larger than a general merchandise Target store, but is not labeled a SuperTarget as these stores' grocery aisles are still markedly smaller than those of the hypermarket.[35]

Distribution centers[edit]

As of January 2010, Target Corporation operated 37 distribution centers across the United States.[36] Target opened three new distribution centers in 2006 (Rialto, California, DeKalb, Illinois) and one in 2009 (Newton, North Carolina) to support the growth of its stores. With the exception of vendor supplied items, such as greeting cards and soda, these distribution centers ship items directly to Target stores. Also, unlike Walmart, Target's grocery selection does not come from their own distribution centers, but from the companies with whom Target has partnered.[37]

The retail chain's first distribution center opened in Fridley, Minnesota, in 1969. It included a computerized distribution system and was known as the Northern Distribution Center. During this time, the chain consisted of seventeen stores after having expanded into Oklahoma and Texas.[38]

On August 9, 2004, Target announced to their suppliers that they were going to perform a trial on the effects of radio-frequency identification on the efficiency of supply chain management in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. This trial involved one Target distribution center and ten nearby Target stores. Here, RFID tags would be placed on the bar codes of pallets and cartons to track the goods from the suppliers to the distribution center, and from the distribution center to the stores.[39] As of 2009, RFID had been phased out of the Dallas–Fort Worth stores.

On January 27, 2009, Target announced the closing of its distribution center in Maumelle, Arkansas, the second-oldest in the company. The reason cited was the need to ensure that Target remains competitive in the long-term.[40]

SuperTarget and PFresh stores require fresh produce, refrigerated and frozen items. Food distribution centers owned by SuperValu have been utilized by Target for many years. In October 2003, SuperValu's facility in Phoenix, Arizona, was converted to serve Target exclusively.[41] The same change was implemented at the SuperValu center in Fort Worth, Texas.[42] A new distribution center was constructed by Target in Lake City, Florida, to serve the Southeast, but it is operated by SuperValu.[41] A fourth center in Cedar Falls, Iowa, opened in 2009 and is unique in that it is located adjacent to a standard Target Distribution Center, each utilizing the same dispatch office.[42] Other warehouses owned by SuperValu are still used in other regions, but Target plans to replace those over the next few years.[41] In Colorado, stores are serviced through FreshPack Produce Inc. of Denver.[37] In the mid-Atlantic region/Philadelphia market, C&S Whole Grocers services the fresh produce, meat, dairy, bakery, & frozen needs to "PFresh" stores.

The company operates four facilities to receive shipments from overseas manufacturers and suppliers. They are located near ports at Rialto, California; Savannah, Georgia; Lacey, Washington; and Suffolk, Virginia. Merchandise received is sent directly to Regional Distribution Centers. Internet sales orders from the Target Direct division, which operates from the website, are processed by the facility in Woodbury, Minnesota, with some support from Savannah, Georgia, and other vendors. New centers opened in Ontario, California, and Tucson, Arizona, in 2009.[42]


As well as the main retail subsidiary, Target Stores, the company owns several other subsidiaries, which include:

Financial and Retail Services[edit]

Financial and Retail Services (FRS) formerly Target Financial Services (TFS): issues Target's credit cards, known as the Target REDcard (formerly the Target Guest Card), issued through Target National Bank (formerly Retailers National Bank) for consumers and through Target Bank for businesses. Target Financial Services also oversees GiftCard balances. Target launched its PIN-based debit card, the Target Check Card, which was later re-branded the Target Debit Card. The Target Debit Card withdraws funds from the customer's existing checking account, and allows for up to $40 "cash back." The debit card allows customers to save five percent of each purchase, as well as designate a school for Target's Take Charge of Education program, and accumulate pharmacy rewards.

Target Brands[edit]

Target Brands: owns and oversees the company's private label products, including the grocery brands Archer Farms, Market Pantry, and Simply Balanced; Sutton & Dodge, their premium meat line; Threshold, their premium furniture line; and the electronics brand Trutech. Target issued a re-launch of the Target brand as "up & up" to include an expanded product selection and a new design. The up & up brand offers essential commodities including household, health care, beauty, baby, and personal care products. The brand claims to offer products of equal quality to national brands at a fraction of the cost, averaging a savings of 30 percent.[43] As of September 2009, up & up carries over 800 product offerings across 40 categories.[44] In addition, Bullseye Dog is a mascot, and the Bullseye Design and 'Target' are registered trademarks of Target Brands.

Target Sourcing Services[edit]

Target Sourcing Services (TSS): This global sourcing organization locates merchandise from around the world for Target and helps import the merchandise to the United States. Such merchandise include garments, furniture, bedding, and towels. TSS has 27 full-service offices, 48 quality-control offices, and seven concessionaires located throughout the world. TSS employs 1,200 people. Its engineers are responsible for evaluating the factories that do business with Target Corporation for quality, as well as labor rights and transshipment issues.[45] TSS was acquired by Target Corporation in 1998, was founded in 1916 as the Associated Merchandising Corporation, and was previously owned by the clients it served.[citation needed] Target Sourcing Services ceased operations in its department store group, the division of the former Associated Merchandising Corporation that acted as a buying office for Saks, Inc., Bloomingdale's, Stage Stores Inc., T.J.Maxx, and Marshalls.[46][edit] owns and oversees the company's e-commerce initiatives, such as the domain. Founded in early 2000 as, it was formed by separating the company's existing e-commerce operations from its retailing division, and combining it with its Rivertown Trading direct marketing unit into a stand-alone subsidiary.[47] In 2002, and's subsidiary Amazon Enterprise Solutions created a partnership in which would provide order fulfillment and guest services for in exchange for fixed and variable fees. After the company sold Marshall Field's and Mervyn's in 2004, became The domain attracted at least 288 million visitors annually by 2008, according to a survey.[48] In August 2009, Target announced that they would build and manage a new platform, independent of This new platform was to launch in 2011, in advance of the holiday season. Prior to the announcement, Target and Amazon had extended their partnership until 2011.[49] In January 2010, Target announced their vendor partners for the re-platforming project. These partners include Sapient, IBM, Oracle, Endeca, Autonomy, Sterling Commerce and Huge, among others.[50] The re-platformed officially launched on August 23, 2011, effectively ending the partnership with[51]

Products and image[edit]


Target Plaza South, a portion of the Target Corporation headquarters complex in downtown Minneapolis; the building originally featured the Target Light System, created by using 3M light pipes[52] but was replaced by more energy-efficient LEDs in 2011.[53]

Target Corporation has its headquarters on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis,[54] near the site of the original Goodfellows store.[citation needed] The complex includes Target Plaza North and Target Plaza South. Ryan Companies developed the complex, and Ellerbe Becket served as the architect. Target had the approximately $260-million complex developed to provide one location of office space for 6,000 employees. The 14-story Target Plaza North has 600,000 square feet (56,000 m2) of office and retail space, while the 32-story Target Plaza South has 1,250,000 square feet (116,000 m2) of space.[55]

Competitors and differentiation strategy[edit]

Target Corporation competes directly against other discount retailers, mainly Kmart and Walmart. Since its founding, it has intended to differentiate its stores from its competitors by offering what it believes is more upscale, trend-forward merchandise at lower costs, rather than the traditional concept of focusing on low-priced goods. Douglas J. Dayton, one of the Dayton brothers, explained John Geisse's concept:

As a result, Target stores tend to attract younger customers than Walmart, among other competitors. The median Target shopper is 41, the youngest of all major discount retailers that Target competes directly against. The median household income of Target's customer base is roughly $63,000. Roughly 76% of Target customers are female, and more than 45% have children at home. About 80% have attended college and 48% have completed college.[23][24] 97% of American consumers recognize the Target Bullseye logo.[citation needed]

In October 2008, Target announced plans to fight the perception that their products are more expensive than those of other discount retailers. It planned to add perishables to their inventory, cut back on discretionary items, and spend three-quarters of their marketing budget on advertising that emphasizes value and includes actual prices of items featured in ads. Target also planned to slow its expansion from about 100 stores a year down to 70 stores a year.[56][57][58]

Target stores are designed to be more attractive than large big-box stores by having wider aisles, drop ceilings, a more attractive presentation of merchandise, and generally cleaner fixtures. Special attention is given to the design of the store environment: graphics reinforce its advertising imagery, while shelves are dressed with contemporary signage, backdrops and liners, often printed on inexpensive material such as paper, corrugated and foam boards. Some stores, particularly those in the vicinity of major airports, have a bullseye painted on the roof that can be seen from above: the stores in Atlanta, Georgia near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; Rosemont, Illinois, near O'Hare International Airport; Potomac Yard, Virginia, near Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport; College Point, New York (Queens), east of LaGuardia Airport; and Richfield, Minnesota, adjacent to Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport are among such locations.[59] Target doesn't use music in its stores, nor does it promote items or services through its public address system.[citation needed]


Some people jokingly give Target the pseudo-French pronunciation /tɑrˈʒ/ tar-ZHAY, as though it were an upscale boutique. This trend is incorrectly believed to have been started by Oprah Winfrey, when she used the French pronunciation to refer to the store on her television show, but has actually been traced back to 1962, the year the first Target store opened. Target once sold a line of shoes called "Ms Targe"[60] this was reinforced by a 1980s television advertisement starring Didi Conn. This pronunciation has also led some people to incorrectly believe that the company is French-owned.[37] In recognition of the nickname's popularity and cachet, Target Corporation licensed its name and logo to Brand Central LLC in 2006, complete with accent over the letter "E", which, however, would be inaccurate and unnecessary according to French spelling rules, for a new line of clothing intended for more up-scale fashion customers. The line, "Targét Couture", was originally sold at Los Angeles-based store Intuition, which deals with high-end brands.[61][62]


Target uses a practice that was derived in 1989 from The Walt Disney Company[37] by calling its customers "Guests", its employees "Team Members", and its supervisors "Team Leaders". Also, managers are known as "Executive Team Leaders (ETLs)" and the Store Manager is known as the "Store Team Leader (STL)". Further up the "chain of command" are "District Team Leaders (DTL)", "Group Team Leaders (GTL)", Regional Team Leaders (RTL) (sometimes also Regional Vice President), and finally corporate-level executives.

No firearms, No tobacco[edit]

Target stores do not sell firearms. In the early 1990s, they ceased sales of toy guns that looked realistic and limited its toy gun selection to ones that were brightly colored and oddly shaped. In 2014, Target also "respectfully" asked their customers to leave any firearms at home when visiting the store.[63] They do not sell tobacco products and have not sold cigarettes since 1996.[64] This is a key point of differentiation with Target's chief competitor Walmart, which offers firearms and tobacco at many stores.[citation needed]

Product lines and partnerships[edit]

Target has many exclusive deals with various designers and name brands, including architect Michael Graves; athletic wear company Converse; Italian fashion label Fiorucci; fashion designers Liz Lange, Mossimo Giannulli, and Isaac Mizrahi, among others. To further increase their fashion profile, Target also created its fashion-forward Go International line, which hires famous designers to design collections available only for a few months.[65]

Target, after hiring architect Michael Graves to design the scaffolding used to renovate the Washington Monument and contributing $6 million USD to the restoration plan, introduced its first designer line of products in 1999, the Michael Graves Collection of housewares and home decor products.[65] Walmart and Kmart have followed Target's lead by signing exclusive designers to their stores as well. Target also partners with well-established national brands to create exclusive collections for its stores.[65]

Target also signed an exclusive deal with Food Network to sell DVDs of TV shows featuring popular chefs such as Alton Brown, Paula Deen, and Rachael Ray.[when?][citation needed]

In July 2006, Target started selling two-tone pink edition Apple iPods through a partnership with Colorware.[citation needed]

Sometimes manufacturers will create red-colored items exclusively for Target. In 2002, Nintendo produced a red special edition variant of the Game Boy Advance, which featured the Target logo above the screen.[66]

In 2005, IFC began a partnership with Target to promote a selection of independent films, both in Target stores and on IFC Monday nights at 9:00 pm Eastern. Originally titled IFC Cinema Red, the promotion was rebranded on air as The Spotlight in 2007. The in-store headers refer to the selected titles as IFC Indies – Independent films chosen for Target by the Independent Film Channel.[67]

Gift cards[edit]

The Target GiftCard is the retailing division's stored-value card or gift card. Target sells more gift cards than any other retailer in the United States and is one of the top sellers, by dollars and units, in the world.[68] The unique designs of their cards contribute to their higher sales, as well as Target's policy of no expiration dates or service fees.[69] Past and current designs include lenticular, "scratch and sniff" (such as peppermint during the Christmas season), glow in the dark, LED light-up, a gift card on the side of a bubble blower, a gift card that can function as a CD-ROM, and even a giftcard that allows the sender to record a voice message. A current environmentally friendly giftcard is made from bioplastic manufactured from corn.[70] Target rolled out a new MP3 player giftcard for the 2006 holiday season. It holds 12 songs and must be purchased with an initial value of at least $50.

Beginning in January 2010, Target Stores rolled out Mobile GiftCards, through which one can produce a GiftCard barcode on any web-capable cell phone. This data matrix barcode can be scanned at a Target POS like any physical card barcode, and balances can be stored, retrieved, and gifted with the convenience of a cell phone.[citation needed]

Some of these unique design ideas are patented, and these patents are assigned to the Target Brands subsidiary. For example, some such Target GiftCard designs feature a wooden front side. On May 24, 2005, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted U.S. patent D505,450 for the "ornamental design for a credit or stored value card with wood layer" to inventors Amy L. Lauer and John D. Mayhew.[71] U.S. patent 7004398, for the "stored-value card assembly including a stored-value card, an edible product, and a wrapper", was granted to Michael R. Francis and Barry C. Brooks on February 28, 2006.[72] Both patents have been assigned by their inventors to Target Brands, Inc.

Target GiftCards are also collectors items. Some of the first gift cards issued are valued at over $300 (even though the card doesn't have any money on it). Every year Target introduces new Holiday GiftCards. In 2007, Target's Holiday GiftCards featured a wind-up flashlight, a musical gift card, a gift card that lights up, and a scented gift card.


Main article: ClearRx
Target ClearRx prescription bottles

In 2005, Target introduced a major revision of prescription bottles, which it calls the ClearRx system. The redesigned bottles are color-coded, flattened-out and turned upside down, providing more room for the label. This system was based on the patent[73] by student Deborah Adler and was named one of TIME's "Most Amazing Inventions of 2005".[74]


Cartwheel is an app that allows users to "stack up the savings: Use your offers again and again. You can even pile them on top of other coupons, sales and your debit or credit REDcard savings" and to "play more, save more: Keep saving, sharing and interacting with Cartwheel to unlock even more offer spots."[75]


Target Corporation is consistently ranked as one of the most philanthropic companies in the US. It ranked No. 22 in Fortune magazine's "World's Most Admired Companies" for 2010, largely in part to the donation efforts of the company as a whole.[76] According to a November 2005 Forbes article, it ranked as the highest cash-giving company in America in percentage of income given (2.1%).[77] Target donates around 5 percent of its pre-tax operating profit; it gives over $3 million a week (up from $2 million in years prior) to the communities in which it operates. It also gives a percentage of charges from its Target Visa to schools designated by the cardholders. To date, Target has given over $150 million to schools across the United States through this program.

Further evidence of Target's philanthropy can be found in the Target House complex in Memphis, Tennessee, a long-term housing solution for families of patients at the city's St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The corporation led the way with more than $27 million in donations, which made available 96 fully furnished apartments for families needing to stay at St. Jude over 90 days.

Target has a no-solicitation rule at its properties, as it seeks to provide a "distraction-free shopping experience for its guests." Exemptions to this policy were previously made for the Salvation Army red kettles and bell-ringers outside Target stores during the holidays through Christmas. In 2004, however, Target asked the organization to explore alternate methods to partner with Target. Target donates to local Salvation Army chapters through its grant program and annually to the United Way of America (the Salvation Army is a member of the United Way coalition).

In 2005, Target and the Salvation Army[78] created a joint effort called "The Target/Salvation Army Wish List", where online shoppers could donate goods to the organization for hurricane victims by buying them directly from between November 25, 2005, and January 25, 2006. In 2006, they created another joint effort called "The Target/Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree",[79] which is an online version of the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program;[80] in addition to donating proceeds made from the sales of limited edition Harvey Lewis angel ornaments within Target's stores. During the Thanksgiving holiday of 2006, Target and the Salvation Army partnered with magician David Blaine to send several families on a shopping spree the morning of Black Friday. The challenge held that if Blaine could successfully work his way out of a spinning gyroscope by the morning of Black Friday, then several families would receive $500 shopping certificates. The challenge was completed successfully by Blaine.[81]

During disasters, Target has been a major benefactor for relief efforts. Target provided monetary and product donations during the September 11 attacks; it also donated money for relief efforts for the 2004 tsunami in South Asia and donated $1.5 million (US) to the American Red Cross in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It also allowed its store properties in the affected area to be used as command centers for relief organizations and donated supplies such as water and bug spray.

Target will often donate its unused, returned or seasonal merchandise (particularly clothing) to Goodwill Industries.

Environmental record[edit]

In 2007, Target Corporation agreed to reduce their sales on all materials containing polyvinyl chloride (PVC).[82] Testers found toxic lead and phthalates and large amounts of PVC in toys, lunchboxes, baby bibs, jewelry, garden hoses, mini blinds, Christmas trees, and electronics.[82] Several studies have shown that chemicals in vinyl chloride can cause serious health problems for children and adults.[82] The University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago states that people who use products containing PVC can become exposed with harmful toxic phthalates and lead, which eventually can become a big contributor with dioxins.[82] Lois Gibbs, executive director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, stated, "Target is doing the right thing by moving away from PVC and switching to safer alternatives."[82] Other companies reducing the PVC on their shelves include Walmart, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, and Apple.[82] Target stores have been taking environmental measures by reusing materials within their stores and recycling products such as broken hangers, cardboard, and rechargeable batteries.[83] Target is beginning to reduce energy use with energy-efficient storefronts, and reducing waste with recycling programs.[84] All Target stores in the United States use plastic carts with metal frames. In mid-2006, Target took it a step further when it began introducing a newer cart design made entirely of plastic. It also uses the same design in its hand-use baskets.[85]

Target released a 13-page report in 2007 that outlined their current and future plans for becoming more earth-friendly according to LEED. Such efforts include installing sand filtration systems for the stores' wastewater. Recycling programs will be aimed at garment hangers, corrugated cardboard, electronics, shopping carts, shrink wrap, construction wastes, carpeting and ceiling tiles and roofing materials. All stores in Oklahoma will be partnered with Oklahoma Gas & Electric to exclusively use wind power for all Target stores in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Stores nationwide use only LED and fluorescent lights and low-flow restrooms that reduce waste water by 30%. Some Target stores are installing roof gardens or green roofs, which absorb storm water and cut down on surface runoff, mitigate temperature fluctuations and provide habitats for birds. There are currently four green-roof Target stores in Chicago.

Target carries over 700 organic and alternative products from brands such as Archer Farms, Burt's Bees, and Method Products. They also sell clothes made from organic cotton, non-toxic cleaners, low-energy lighting and electronics, non-toxic and non-animal tested cosmetics, and furniture made from recycled materials. As of June 2007, Target has been offering reusable shopping bags as an alternative to disposable plastic bags. Target gift cards are made from corn-based resins. All of the stores' packaging is done with a modified paperboard/clamshell option and has goals for phasing out plastic wrap completely.[86]

In collaboration with MBH Architects, Target's first "green" building was a 100,000+ square foot Target store built in 1995 in Fullerton, California. It was a part of the EPA Energy Star Showcase for its use of skylights that cut the original energy consumption by 24% with a 5-year payback.[87] Target and MBH Architects were awarded the "Green Lights Partner/Ally of the Year Award".[88]

Target is the only national retailer employing a Garment Hanger reuse program, which keeps millions of pounds of metal and plastic out of landfills. In 2007, this program prevented 434 million hangers from entering landfills.

On June 15, 2009, the California Attorney General and 20 California District Attorneys filed a lawsuit in Alameda County alleging that Target stores across the state have been illegally dumping hazardous wastes in landfills.[89]

On October 1, 2009, Target Corporation agreed to pay a $600,000 civil penalty for importing and selling a variety of toys with lead paint levels that were higher than is legally allowed. The Consumer Products Safety Commission alleged that "Target knowingly imported and sold the illegal Chinese-made toys between May 2006 and August 2007."[90] A similar problem occurred a few months later in February 2010, when Target pulled Valentine's Day "message bears" from its shelves at the request of the California attorney general's office. The bears, which were manufactured in China, contained more lead than is permissible under federal law for children under 12.[91]

A class action suit was filed in 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, on behalf of consumers in Ohio that purchased Target-brand wet wipes. The lawsuit filed against Target Corporation alleges the retailer mislead consumers by marking the packaging on its up & up® brand wipes as flushable and safe for sewer and septic systems. The lawsuit also alleges that so-called flushable wipes are a public health hazard because they are alleged to clog pumps at municipal waste-treatment facilities.[92]

Customer Privacy[edit]

In December 2013, a data breach of Target's systems affected up to 110 million customers.[93][94] Compromised customer information included names, phone numbers, email and mailing addresses.[95] Target agreed to reimburse some costs incurred as a result of the breach to financial institutions, but has failed to reach a settlement with MasterCard over the resulting dispute.[96] In March 2015, Target reached a $10 million class-action settlement with affected customers.[97]

Target Forensic Services[edit]

In 2006, The Washington Post revealed that Target is operating two sophisticated criminal forensics laboratories, one at its headquarters and the other in Las Vegas.[98] Originally, the lab was created with the role of investigating internal instances of theft and fraud and other criminal actions that have occurred on its own properties. Eventually, the company began offering pro bono services to law enforcement agencies across the country. Target's Forensic Services has assisted agencies at all levels of government, including federal agencies such as the United States Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The labs have become such a popular resource for law enforcement that Target has had to restrict its assistance to violent felonies.[99][100]

Animal welfare concerns[edit]

In 2011, Mercy for Animals, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies, uncovered animal abuse at a Target egg supplier.[101]

Hidden-camera footage shot at Sparboe Farms—a significant egg supplier to Target, McDonald's, Sam's Club, SuperValu, and Hy-Vee—revealed hens crammed into filthy wire cages, unable to fully stretch their wings or engage in most other natural behaviors. The investigator documented workers burning off the beaks of chicks without painkillers, torturing animals, and throwing live birds into plastic bags and leaving them to suffocate. Dead hens were left to rot alongside birds who were still laying eggs for human consumption.

The investigation received international media attention, airing first on ABC's Good Morning America,[102] World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer,[103] and 20/20.[104] As a result of the investigation and the public outcry that followed, Target immediately discontinued its relationship with the company.[105][106][107]


The company states that "individuality may include a wide spectrum of attributes such as personal style, age, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, language, physical ability, religion, family, citizenship status, socio-economic circumstances, education, and life experiences."[108]

The Target employee diversity initiative is called "All Together Target".[109] It specifically seeks to work with vendors and contractors that are owned by minorities or women.[110]

In February 2012 the company extended the team member discount to same-sex partners of employees. It had received a 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index Score, prior to donating funds to Minnesota Forward.[111] In addition, Target Corporation was named one of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" in 2004 by Working Mother.[112]

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has repeatedly given Target failing grades on its annual Economic Reciprocity Initiative report card, a measure of the company's "commitment to the African-American citizenry". In 2003 and 2005, the NAACP has rated Target an "F" on this report; in 2004, Target was rated a "D-".[113][114][115] In 2006, when Target was asked why it didn't participate in the survey again,[116] a representative explained, "Target views diversity as being inclusive of all people from all different backgrounds, not just one group."[117]

In February 2006 the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) filed a class action discrimination lawsuit in Northern California's Alameda County Superior Court, claiming that Target's commercial website contains "thousands of access barriers that make it difficult, if not impossible, for blind customers to use."[118] Target Corporation settled the lawsuit in October 2008, paying $6 million and agreeing to work with the NFB over the next three years improving the usability of the site.[119]

On August 24, 2009, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a discrimination lawsuit against Target Corporation for unlawfully denying reasonable accommodation to an employee with multiple disability-based impairments and substantially reducing his work hours due to the medical conditions.[120] According to the claims in the EEOC press release, Target's actions violated Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.[121]

Major sponsorships[edit]

The Target Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar visiting Purdue University

Target owns the naming rights to the Target Center and Target Field in Minneapolis. It also is a long-time sponsor of the IndyCar and NASCAR racing teams of Chip Ganassi Racing.[citation needed] Target's relationship with Ganassi in IndyCar go back to 1990, sponsoring Eddie Cheever, and some of their most famous drivers in the 1990s include Arie Luyendyk, Michael Andretti and Bryan Herta. In the late 1990s, Target Chip Ganassi Racing had a four-year run of winning championships in CART, winning 1996 with Jimmy Vasser, 1997 and 1998 with Alex Zanardi, and 1999 with Juan Pablo Montoya.[citation needed] Ganassi won their first Indianapolis 500 in 2000. The team moved full-time into the rival Indy Racing League in 2003,[citation needed] and won in its first year of full-time competition, with Scott Dixon. Dixon won the championship again in 2008. The 2009 season marked the 20th anniversary of the Target race program. Franchitti won his second career IndyCar championship, and with Scott Dixon finishing second, gave Target a one-two sweep in the IndyCar Series. Dixon and Franchitti won 10 of 17 races (Dixon-5, Franchitti-5) and tied the team record from 1998 where Alex Zanardi and Jimmy Vasser combined to win 10 in the 19-race 1998 CART season. In 2010, Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500. He also won the series championship for the Target team, by five points over second-place finisher Will Power.[citation needed]

Target started sponsoring stock cars in 2001 with Sterling Marlin, when Chip Ganassi bought into the Felix Sabates stock car team.[citation needed] In the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, the No. 41 Chip Ganassi Target car was driven by Jimmy Spencer, and from 2003 to 2005, Casey Mears drove the car. In 2006, Reed Sorenson took over the No. 41 when Mears moved to a different Chip Ganassi car on the same team. Sorenson drove the car through the 2008 season, and Target has also had some major sponsorship time on the Ganassi Racing No. 40 car with Dario Franchitti and Jeremy Mayfield who subbed for the injured Franchitti. The 40 team has since been shut down. For 2009, the Target sponsorship moved to the No. 42 driven by Juan Pablo Montoya with the newly formed Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.[citation needed] Target also sponsored Earnhardt Ganassi Racing's No. 8 car driven by Aric Almirola, which it co-sponsors in some races with other sponsors such as Guitar Hero and TomTom until the team was disbanded in May 2009. Kyle Larson took over the No. 42 in 2014, and Target sponsored the No. 51 of Phoenix Racing for Larson's Sprint Cup Series debut.[122]

The Target Chip Ganassi[123] car driven by Dario Franchitti won the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday May 30, 2010.[124]

Target Corporation is a major sponsor of the annual Minneapolis Aquatennial, where it hosts the Target Fireworks Show. It is the largest annual fireworks show west of the Mississippi River, and the fourth largest annual fireworks show in the United States.[125]

Target also sponsors the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. It hosts Target Free Friday Nights, providing to all visitors free admission to the museum during Fridays after 4 pm.[citation needed] The company also hosts Target First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum. A similar Target-sponsored program at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art called "Free after Five" provides free admission in the evening throughout the week. Tuesdays are free at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, courtesy of Target. In its hometown of Minneapolis, Target sponsors the Target Free Thursday Nights at the Walker Art Center, where admission is free after 4 pm as well, as in its sister-city Saint Paul, hosting "Target Third Free Sundays" at the Minnesota Children's Museum. In Boston, Target sponsors $1 Friday Nights at the Boston Children's Museum from 5:00 to 9:00 pm.[citation needed] Target also supports the Target Wing at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Target is the founding sponsor of the Weekend America radio program. Target often supports major awards shows such as the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, and the Golden Globes. In the past,[vague] it has participated in the Tournament of Roses Parade with a corporate float.[citation needed]

Target was a sponsor of the Times Square 2006–2007 New Year's Ball Drop and had its logo placed on the confetti dropped during the celebrations as well as specially designed "2007" glasses.[126]

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External links[edit]