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Target delays store remodels, openings to focus all attention on COVID-19

Target Corp. is putting a temporary hold on some of its store remodeling and growth initiatives to minimize potential disruptions as it focuses on serving customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The discounter also announced new in-store changes to protect shoppers and employees during the outbreak.

Target said it now plans to remodel approximately 130 locations in 2020, down from its previous plan of approximately 300. Remodel projects already underway will be completed, with all other remodels moved into 2021. 

In addition, Target said it now plans to open 15 to 20 small-format stores this year, rather than the 36 it had expected. Similar to remodels, new store projects already underway will be completed, with the remaining delayed into 2021. 

In addition, Target has put a temporary hold on its plans to add fresh grocery and alcohol into its Drive Up and Order pickup and drive-up services.

Target stores are also adopting new policies to minimize risk and promote social distancing, including temporarily banning all returns and exchanges for the next three weeks (returns that expired during the period will be honored when the ban is lifted) and wiping down checkout lanes. The retailer also will have an employee stationed at store entrances to ensure shopping carts are clean and available in an orderly fashion. And it’s adding signs at the front of stores and floor decals at the checklanes to maintain safe distances between shoppers. Finally, it has put a hold on sales of reusable bag; shoppers who bring them will be asked to bag their own items at checkout. 

"We are prioritizing the work that's in front of us to support our team, store operations and supply chain as families across the country rely on Target for everything they need in this challenging environment,” said Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO, Target. “I want to thank our entire team for their efforts, which have been nothing short of heroic.

Cornell said that Target, during the past three weeks, has experienced an “unprecedented surge in traffic and sales” as shoppers rely on its stores and same-day services. 

“Ensuring we can take care of our team and deliver for the millions of guests who are counting on us remains our top priority,” he added.

Last week, Target has raised its pay by $2 an hour for its store and distribution center hourly full-time and part-time team members until at least May 2. In addition, the company is offering a new option for team members who are 65 or older, pregnant or those with underlying medical conditions to access paid leave.

Target's latest investments include bonuses it is paying out to frontline associates, including, for the first time, bonuses for 20,000 hourly store team leads who manage individual departments in its stores across the country.

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