2. Company Analysis
Founded as Goodfellow’s Dry Goods in 1902, Target is now the second largest discount
retailer in the United States. The first “Target” store was opened in 1962 and became the largest
division of the Dayton-Hudson Corporation. Consequently, the company was renamed the
Target Corporation in 2000. This upscale discount retailer provides high-quality merchandise in
the 1,792 stores nationwide.
Target’s mission is to “make Target your preferred shopping destination in all channels
by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and exceptional guest experiences by
consistently fulfilling our Expect More. Pay Less. brand promise,” (Target through, 2016). CMO
Jeff Jones says this mantra reiterates that Target recognizes consumers’ financial pressures, and
strives to preserve its brand promise. The company prides itself on their commitment to fulfill
the needs and fuel potential of their customers.
Not only do Target Corporation uphold a responsibility to their guests, but also to their
community. Target sponsors educational programs, supports families recovering from disasters,
and practices sustainability throughout the business. To support their overall mission, they are
guided by their commitments to great value, the community, diversity and the environment as a
whole, (Target through, 2016).
Target’s purpose and beliefs collaborate to foster connections and conversations both
inside and outside their front doors. Like many large and established corporations, Target aims to
3. uphold a strong corporate culture. The company’s objective in establishing a corporate culture
was to create an environment where everyone, guests and team members alike, feel welcome,
valued, and respected. The company believes that fostering an inclusive culture is a core value
that is integrated into every aspect of the business. By doing so, they enable all team members to
leverage their individual, unique talents to drive innovation and success. The team members are
empowered and encouraged to innovate, and are valued as an essential part of the company’s
success. The goals are clear, challenging, and designed to develop leaders dedicated to helping
all of the team succeed. (Culture, 2016)
According to glassdoor.com, 60% of Target employees would recommend their job to a
friend and 73% approve of the CEO of the company. In the 25,000+ reviews, the company
received an overall 3.3 rating out of 5. The following diagram breaks down the ratings and
4. trends according to Target employees across the nation. The overall distribution indicates that
the company has maintained a positive outlook with its team members, (Target Reviews, 2016).
Target has been ranked, recognized, and rewarded by many of the most respected and
responsible companies in the world. Among many others, the company has been proudly placed
in the “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list since 2012 (Culture, 2016). These accomplishments
accompanied by the employees’ positive ratings and reviews prove the company to be one with
an outstanding corporate culture.
As previously mentioned, Target strives to be the preferred shopping destination for their
guests. The company has been transformed from a stagnant department store business to one of
the country's most aggressive retail brands and they achieved this through their ambitious drive.
Potential Risk and PR Issues
Although Target’s ambition has led to many achievements, it has also put the company at
risk. Historically a United States corporation, Target launched its business into Canada in 2013.
In less than a year, over 120 were opened and running throughout the country. This overly
ambitious extension resulted in a failure when the company faced an online security breach. This
security breach ensued the theft of various personal information for their millions of Canadian
customers who shopped online and in stores. Target offered $10 million settlement in the
lawsuit. The company received various negative PR which effected not only the company’s
profits, but also their brand image, (Bukaty, 2015).
5. Financial, Technological, Managerial Resources
Target Corporation’s financial reports indicated $72,618 million in sales for the 2014
fiscal year with a 1.9% growth from the previous year. Of the 1,790 stores nationwide, 268 are
located in the state of California, 41 in Colorado, and 75 in Minnesota. These three states
produced over $300 million in sales per capita, (Annual Report, 2014).
In 2013, Target opened Target Technology Innovation Center, an office where data,
technology, and product experts strive to increase the company’s strength in e-retail and mobile
commerce. This center serves as a lab for retail experimentations to test and learn about the latest
retail technologies to keep up with the retail industry. "Our office is one part of the broader
ecosystem of innovation in Target Technology Services (TTS)," says Director David Newman.
"We're here to help get ahead of emerging technologies and to find new things, test them, and
bring our learnings back to the larger team," (Meet, 2013).
Target Corporation maintains ongoing relationships with community leaders, government
agencies, and non-governmental organizations that aid in understanding the pressing issues in the
community. These relationships also influence the support of team members and guests. The
company sustains partnerships with educational, environmental, well-being, safety and
preparedness, and diversity and inclusion partners, (Steakholder, 2016).
6. Sales Trends
Target Corporation has experienced an increase in sales over the past 3 years. 2013
generated revenues of $73.3 billion dollars and as previously stated, $71.3 billion in sales for the
2014 fiscal year. 2015 generated the sales of $72.62 billion dollars, (Target Corp., 2016).
Being named the second largest leader in the retail industry, Target has proven to be quite
successful overall, but has experienced some deterioration in their profit margins. The company
experienced a decrease in gross profit margins from 2013 to 2014 and from 2014 to 2015. This is
attributed to the previously mentioned data breach experienced in 2013. A majority of the
financial information came from the company’s 2014 Annual Reports. The following diagram
indicates the sales by product category according to the 2014 Annual Reports (Annual Report,
The retail industry is the second largest industry in the United States generating over $4.5
trillion dollars. The following graph from the Statistics Portal displays the annual retail industry
sales in the United States from 2000-2014 in trillions:
If the trajectory is forecasted to continue on the rise in the near future (Annual, 2015).
Social, Cultural, Political Conditions
In June, 2015, the company made the announcement “We’re not born with pride. We
take pride. Pride in celebrating who we were born to be,” (#TakePride, 2015). The
announcement was followed by full support of the LGBT community. This established a
relationship with the LGBT community and became a favored brand among those included.
However, this also earned some backlash from those consumers who were not in support of this
8. Consumer Analysis
Target identifies their primary customers as middle class individuals with a median age
of 40, median household income of approximately $64,000, approximately 43% with children at
home, and about 57% that have completed college. An analysis conducted by Ad Age revealed
the demographics of their guests to determine the company’s target market. The analysis
identified gender, age range, marital status, and income as important factors to segment the
market. Roughly 60% of the shoppers were women, 60% were aged 25-54, 54% were married,
and 40% earned an average annual income of $35,000-$75,000 (Target Corporation, 2015). The
figure below displays each factor broken down.
9. The quality of Target’s products is key in distinguishing itself from competitors in the
discount retail industry. Although Target is categorized as a discount retailer, their consumers
are not the typical coupon-cutting, bargain shoppers. These consumers are more affluent than
those of Wal-Mart, but are still cost-conscious shoppers. By emphasizing high-quality
merchandise and products and low-cost designer fashion, Target typically appeals to the
consumers who are brand oriented individuals. These consumers are motivated by their desire
for high quality and high style while still being mindful of the prices. They tend to be educated
individuals who are loyal to the Target brand and who are willing to pay a slightly more for the
added value in these products. When making purchases, they expect the satisfaction and trust
that Target will uphold their mission in delivering the higher standard products. These
consumers admire quality, trust, and value in their everyday lives and in their purchases.
As a discount retail store, Target has a lot to offer and their consumers are aware of this.
From home appliances to the latest lower-cost designer fashion, Target’s consumers utilized their
products in their everyday lives. Consumers can look to Target for their clothing, home,
entertainment, beauty, and grocery needs among many others.
A survey conducted at the West Virginia University’s campus revealed that the opinions
of many college consumers reflected that of Target’s target market. Below are various
testimonies that support the previously listed factors.
Target’s variety of product categories contribute to the attraction for their consumers.
“Target appeals to me because it provides affordable products with a variety of options.” Target
10. has become a convenient retail option for many consumers because of its one-stop characteristic.
“I enjoy shopping there because it is a one-stop shop for me. I can do grocery shopping, clothing
shopping, household items, etc., in one place,” (Class, 2013).
Consumers also perceive Target’s products as having superior quality. “As a married
young professional female who doesn't want to waste all her hard earned money on expensive
products, but also doesn't want to waste on products so cheap that they fall apart within a month,
Target is the perfect middle ground for me,” (Class, 2013).
Consumers view Target as a higher standard brand compared to Walmart, its biggest
competitor. “I also love that I can get stylish clothes or home decorating items that don't cost a
ton of money. I feel confident buying a present at Target without it seeming cheap like a
Walmart gift would feel.” A male consumer wrote, “I don't enjoy the Wally-World consumer,
therefore I must be 'snooty' and thus a good Target consumer. I am willing to pay a little more
(but not a lot more) for the pleasure of shopping at this store.” Consumers find that as a retailer,
Target is more reliable than its competition. “The main reason I shop at Target is that it is far
more reliable than Walmart. Walmart’s items are usually of lower quality – and that’s when
they’re in stock. Rarely have I gone to Target and not been able to find what I need,” (Class,
Walmart Corporation is one of Target’s largest direct competitors. Although Wal-Mart
promises the lowest prices on their products, their products are often found to have less quality.
11. Wal-Mart markets to a lower income level than Target, however, the two companies do share a
common market segment.
Target has been called the “Wal-Mart for a higher class,” (Class, 2013) which is
somewhat congruent with the perception of each company’s brand. Both companies offer a
variety of products, but Target emphasizes higher quality. Consumers expect adequate quality
and lower prices from Wal-Mart which falls short of the company’s expectations.
An indirect competitor of Target would be Amazon.com, the online retailer. They are
considered the indirect competitor due to their strict online presence. However, they are still
considered a competitor because Target also sells their products online. Amazon’s goal is to be
the most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything on their
website. Like Target, the company is focused on the satisfaction and care of their customers.
Both competitors, Wal-Mart and Amazon, offer similar products, but with different
platforms. Wal-Mart is in stores and online, and Amazon is strictly online. Even though the
platforms differ, they are still able to serve similar markets.
At a net value of $53.5 billion dollars, Target was listed as number 92 on the World’s
Most Valuable Brands list. This is favorable for the brand as it proves the company has the
ability keep their brand promise and give the consumers what they want. Consumer’s expect to
receive high quality in their products and Target delivers exactly that.
12. The brand’s simplicity and elegance resonates throughout the consumer’s perception, the
brand’s personality, and the brand’s essence .When asked to describe Target as a brand, several
consumers used adjectives such as clean, stylish, and affordable (Class, 2013). Not only were
these the most popular adjectives used to describe the brand, but they also encompass three
different facets of Target’s company; the store’s quality, products, and pricing, respectively. This
supports that Target is keeping their brand promise for the customers to “expect more” and “pay
With the company’s heavy involvement and support for the LGBT community, the
company has been favored by those involved and the supporters of the community. This
established a relationship with the community and extended the brand’s likeliness.
The Target brand’s sophisticated personality evokes satisfaction and happiness in its
consumers in their product offerings and their community involvement. As previously stated,
Target is partnered with a variety of educational, environmental, well-being, safety and
preparedness, and diversity and inclusion programs.
#TakePride With Target. (June 2015). Retrieved February 5, 2016, from
2014 Annual Report | Target Corporate. (n.d.). Retrieved February 2, 2016, from
Annual retail industry sales in the United States 2000-2014 | Statistic. (2015.). Retrieved
February 2, 2016, from http://www.statista.com
Bukaty, R. (2015, March). Target’s Settlement In Data Breach Lawsuit. Retrieved February,
2016, from http://www.npr.org
Class Survey. (2013). Forum: Week 5 Question > Target. WVU ECampus. Retrieved Feb. 7,
2016, from http://wvu.edu
Culture: Working at Target | Target Corporate. (n.d.). Retrieved February 2, 2016, from
Meet Target's Silicon Valley team. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2016, from
Stakeholder Engagement | Target Corporate. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2016, from
Target Corp. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2016, from
Target Corporation (US). (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2016, from
Target Reviews. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2016, from https://www.glassdoor.com
Target through the years. (n.d.). Retrieved February 02, 2016, from