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Target CEO: We're 'working closely' with ports amid supply chain woes

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In an interview with Yahoo Finance's Brian Sozzi, Target CEO Brian Cornell breaks down how investing in the financial and mental well being of store staff has been vital during the pandemic.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: Target's the second largest US importer, Brian. How are you overcoming these supply chain bottlenecks? What have you had to do to keep products on your shelves?

BRIAN CORNELL: Brian, I'll go all the way back to March of 2020. At the very start of the pandemic, we were actually hosting our annual investor conference. And the first question I received that day was about supply chain disruption because of COVID outbreaks in China.

So we've been living with this and managing this for over 20 months now. And I think in this environment, one, scale matters, having the expertise in place in sourcing, in supply chain, in logistics is really important. But what we really recognize is the importance of both resiliency in our model and agility, and making the adjustments and the changes to ensure that we have the inventory in place to meet the needs of our guests.

So we've become much more agile. We've taken the steps that we've had to take to make sure that we adjust accordingly. We've been working very closely with the port operators to ensure that a lot of our containers are unloaded overnight. We've focused on speed, making sure we can be in and out of those ports.

So leveraging agility has been really important. And I can't tell you how proud I am of the work our teams have done to ensure that we have the inventory we need and we are prepared for this big holiday season. So we've been working on this for months and months. But the agility that we built into our system, on top of the resiliency and the investments we've been making for years, that agility and flexibility has proven to be critically important as we plan for this holiday season and as we maneuver through the challenges of 2021.

BRIAN SOZZI: Do you think supply chain bottlenecks, they will go away next year?

BRIAN CORNELL: Brian, I think we have been seeing supply chain challenges throughout the pandemic. And whether it's factory closures in Asia, port operations that have slowed down in different parts of the world, the challenges with driver shortages in the United States, so I don't think these issues are resolved overnight. Obviously, we're very focused on making sure we play our role and help relieve some of the congestion in ports and move through the system.

We're currently hiring 30,000 additional team members in our supply chain system to make sure we've got the team in place to continue to move through these challenging times. But I think this is going to take quite a bit of time to sort out. And we're going to need to make sure we leverage our experience, our scale, the experience of our team and that agility to make sure we continue to flow goods to our stores and our digital channels and meet the needs of our guests.