How Target Plans to Win the Holidays

Gina Acosta
a woman smiling for the camera
How Target Plans to Win the Holidays
Target says shoppers enrolled in Target Circle shop more frequently and spend 2% to 5% more per basket. 

Target is going all out to win the holiday shopper this year with a strategy that includes a whopping $50 million investment in seasonal staffing.

The retailer says it plans to make “every day count” during one of the shortest holiday seasons in years (there are six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year than last).

“We have one less weekend during this holiday season,” CEO Brian Cornell said. “I think we are going to see a very consistent rhythm and drumbeat of shoppers during December."

In order to keep up with demand, Target says, it expects it will spend $50 million more on payroll during the fourth quarter than it did a year ago. It said it will use the funds to offer more overtime and increase the number of workers in stores at the busiest hours.

Target also says it plans to double the number of team members dedicated to fulfillment, including same-day grocery delivery services, so shoppers can get their orders in as soon as an hour.

Target also gave an update on its new Target Circle loyalty program, saying that more than 25 million shoppers have enrolled. The retailer says shoppers enrolled in Target Circle shop more frequently and spend 2% to 5% more per basket. Target Circle members will receive exclusive offers throughout the holiday season, including early access to select Black Friday doorbusters and special deals – with no membership fee required.

“Last year was our most successful holiday in more than a decade, and that momentum has continued with industry-leading results throughout 2019. Our strategy is paying off, and heading into the holidays, our investments and unmatched focus on service will make it easier for guests to shop on their terms, save and experience the joy of the season,” Cornell said.

Target says it also plans to scale its popular same-day online services, including Drive Up, Order Pickup and delivery with Shipt, across the country, specifically:

  • Drive Up Expansion – New this year, Target is the first retailer to offer Drive Up, its highest-rated service, in all 50 states. This free service enables shoppers to order in the Target app and have their items brought to their car, with most orders ready within an hour and brought out in less than two minutes upon arrival.
  • Delivery With Shipt – Also new this season, same-day delivery with Shipt, which allows shoppers to get items delivered in as soon as an hour, is available directly from and soon via the Target app. Shipt is available from 1,500 stores in 48 states.
  • Order Pickup – Available at all Target stores, free Order Pickup allows guests to shop online or in the Target app and pick up their purchases in store, with most orders ready to pick up in just an hour.
  • Free Shipping – Target is making free shipping available to all shoppers for the holidays, with orders arriving as early as the next day. Beginning Nov. 1, all Target guests can access free shipping on hundreds of thousands of items, with no minimum purchase or membership required. The retailer will offer free shipping through Dec. 21.

Owned and National Brands

Target says it will offer a curated assortment of owned brands, plus partnerships with national brands such as Disney and Levi’s.

  • Only-at-Target Brands – Target guests can find more than 40 owned and exclusive brands this season, including Hearth & Hand with Magnolia and Threshold.
  • Disney – Target and Disney have teamed up to offer Disney store “shop-in-shop” locations this holiday season at 25 Target stores nationwide, and a new Disney digital experience on
  • Toys – In stores and online, Target is offering an expanded assortment of more than 10,000 new and exclusive toys, including exclusives from Disney’s Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

In August, Target reported that its investments in grocery, digital and store brands are paying off as the retailer posted impressive increases in profit and same store sales for its second quarter. The company reported a 3.4% increase in same store sales for the second quarter ended Aug. 3. Digital sales jumped 34% from a year earlier. The company also raised its earnings guidance for the year.

On Wednesday, Target rival Walmart kicked off the holiday season by saying it would offer deals online “earlier than ever” this year beginning this Friday.

Minneapolis-based Target operates more than 1,800 stores, 39 distribution centers and The company is No. 15 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.

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