Target CEO Brian Cornell Talks Prioritizing Work to Put Our Team, Guests and Communities First

  • Mar 25, 2020
a store with a red wall

As coronavirus response efforts continue, Target’s team and business are playing a vital role, ensuring our stores are safe, stocked and ready to serve communities across America.

Last week, Target announced a $300 million+ investment that will support our team members and communities in a number of important ways. And today, we shared an update on our business and financial guidance, including how we’ll prioritize work in the weeks and months ahead to focus on helping families navigate this challenging time.

Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell shared more about the plans.

What are some adjustments Target is making to further support the team?
It’s been so humbling to see our team members across the country doing an incredible job keeping Target’s supply chain operating and our stores open so guests can get what they need. As we look ahead, we want to keep minimizing disruptions so they can concentrate on that critical work. So we’re adjusting the timing of a few projects we had planned for 2020.

For example, we’ll reduce the number of new small format store openings and store remodel projects set for 2020—completing the ones already in progress and rescheduling the rest for 2021. We’ll also temporarily pause on incorporating fresh grocery and adult beverages into our Order Pickup and Drive Up services until later, when the team has more time to train and prepare for the changes. We’ll revisit these projects and set new dates when the time feels right.

What business challenges is Target working through as the pandemic response continues?
There’s no question these are unprecedented times, and consumer shopping behaviors are very unpredictable. As we shared this morning, some Target categories have seen a sustained surge in traffic and sales, especially in food & beverage and essentials like cleaning supplies and baby products, while others like apparel & accessories have slowed down in recent days.

To-date, our March comp sales are more than 20% higher than last year. We know guests’ needs could change quickly as things evolve, so our teams are carefully monitoring the situation, ready to be flexible and adjust. I’m confident that with the best team in retail focused on serving our guests—and a durable financial model built to carry us through tough environments like this—Target will emerge an even stronger team and company.

What are some of the latest measures Target is putting in place to protect team members and guests?
This week, in addition to our rigorous cleaning routines already in place, we’re introducing new measures to keep our stores clean and promote social distancing for everyone’s safety.

We’ll have a team member stationed at our store entrances to make sure carts are clean and available in an orderly fashion. We’re adding signs at the front of stores and floor decals at the checklanes to maintain safe distances between guests as they shop. Our checklanes will be cleaned after each guest transaction, and dedicated team members will guide guests in line while that happens. For the foreseeable future, our stores will rotate the use of our checklanes to allow those not in use to be deep-cleaned.

To be extra cautious, Target will stop accepting in-store product returns and exchanges for the next three weeks—but don’t worry if you have a return that expires during that period, because we’ll still honor them three weeks past the holding period. And for now, we’ll refrain from handling reusable bags, asking guests who bring them in to bag their own items at checkout. Our paper and plastic bags will be available and we’ll waive any local fees during this time.

We’ll make all these changes easy for guests with clear signs throughout the store. Our team members will be there to assist and answer any questions. And as we’ve been doing for weeks, we’ll keep evaluating other options.

We’re also expanding our dedicated shopping hours for our most vulnerable guests, including the elderly and those with underlying health concerns. Starting next week, we’ll reserve the first hour our stores are open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to accommodate those shoppers. Our partners at CVS will have their pharmacy locations open during that time as well. To confirm local store opening times, visit

For the latest information about Target's response efforts, please visit our coronavirus information hub.

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