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Target's (TGT) Holiday Season Strategy Sends Stock to Six-Month High

Benjamin Rains
Retailers are already gearing up for the vitally important holiday season, perhaps none more so than Target (TGT). The company has already been busy, but here is everything investors and shoppers need to know about Target's recent moves, as the company prepares to do retail battle over the next four months.

Retailers are already gearing up for the vitally important holiday season, perhaps none more so than Target TGT. The company has already been busy, but here is everything investors and shoppers need to know about Target’s recent moves, as the company prepares to do retail battle over the next four months.

Target has seen its stock price plunge since the start of the year, and the shifting retail environment has placed a renewed burden on the more upscale big-box retailer to adapt and innovate.

However, the retail chain has already made changes, and it seems to have wasted no time in making its holiday intentions known: it is ready to fight Amazon AMZN and Wal-Mart WMT for customers on all fronts.

Holiday Employees

The Minneapolis-based retail power announced on Wednesday that it plans to hire around 100,000 seasonal employees at its 1,816 stores. Target’s holiday hiring push is up 40% from last year.

As online shopping proliferates, shoppers have grown accustomed to ease, which means Target needs short lines and full shelves. Target hopes the big boost in holiday workers will help the company make consumers’ shopping experiences more smooth and speedy.

The company also hopes to add 4,500 more employees to its distribution and fulfillment centers in order to more quickly refill products in stores, and maybe more importantly, help carry out Target’s new online sales push. 

Target’s online orders have skyrocketed since it began to bolster its online shopping business and experience, which includes faster deliveries. Last month, the company reported that its online sales climbed 32% in the second quarter.

Target is one of the only big-time retailers to have officially announced its seasonal worker push already. But it will likely be matched by its competition, as Amazon hired about 120,000 extra holiday workers last year—which marked a 20% increase.

Target is set to hold nationwide hiring events Oct. 13-15.

HGTV Stars

Target has partnered with celebrities and designers before, but they were often for limited-time engagements. The company’s newest deal with cable television stars Chip and Joanna Gaines—from HGTV's widely popular home remodeling show “Fixer Upper”—is a multi-year partnership.

The corporation’s official deal is with the TV couple’s successful home and lifestyle brand, “Magnolia.” The Gaines’ Target collaboration, “Hearth & Hand with Magnolia,” will debut on Nov. 5.

The new Target collection will feature more than 300 different pieces, including holiday gifts and home décor. The Hearth & Hand with Magnolia line will range in price from $0.99 to $129.99, but most items will cost less than $29.99. Updates to the product offerings will be made throughout the year.

“In a retail environment where differentiation has never been more important, we’re doubling down and introducing more than a dozen new brands to provide guests with even more reasons to choose Target,” Target executive VP Mark Tritton said in a statement.

“Partnering with Chip and Joanna to create a modern farmhouse collection available only at Target allows us to offer an aesthetic we know our guests will love, and the quality and affordable prices can’t be beat.”

Target is also set to introduce another new furniture and home décor line next week, dubbed “Project 62.” The modernist design-focused line will pay homage to styles that took off in the early 1960s, as well as the specific year Target started:1962.

New Clothing Lines

The retail giant managed to become a popular place to buy low-cost clothing with an upscale feel, which was mostly geared towards women—although men’s brands were very present.

Target announced this summer that it would stop selling widely sold clothing brands Mossimo, Merona, Cherokee, and Circo. But fashion is always moving, and the company decided it was ready to debut new brands and lines.

The company recently launched “A New Day,” a new women’s line, which Target hopes women will wear "from weekend to work to dinner date, effortlessly." The retailer is set to debut “JoyLab,” a different women’s line with a “street-fashion vibe,” in October.

The company ditched its old menswear lines because they found that “men come to Target to buy… underwear,” according to a company statement.

However, “Goodfellow & Co.” made its debut at the beginning of September. Target’s new menswear line is more modern and higher-end, with a J.Crew-esque vibe that features clothing, shoes, and accessories.

Bottom Line

Target has started to invest billions of dollars—$7 billion to be exact—into remodeling stores and opening small-scale locations in major metropolitan areas, including Chicago. And just last week, Target began cutting prices on items from cereal and baby formula to razors and paper towels.

Target’s holiday and long-term push forward seems to be paying off already, as its shares surged over 2.75% on Wednesday to hit $60.11—the corporation’s highest intraday mark since February.

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