Survey Finds Target’s Customer Satisfaction Plunging

Shoppers exit a Target Corp. store with their shopping carts n Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. Target Corp. will walk away from Canada less than two years after opening stores there, putting an end to a mismanaged expansion that racked up billions in losses. Photographer: Kevin Van …
Kevin Van Paassen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A new survey finds that customer satisfaction has plunged as retail giant Target continues to struggle to recover from its now one-year-old financial slide.

Target has gone four full quarters slipping in a variety of metrics from profits, stock prices, and even perception of its brand name. But a new survey by investment bank Cowen has also found that customer satisfaction has also tumbled.

The survey of 2,500 Target customers shows declines across the board, including customer service, merchandise selection, and overall quality. According to the survey, Target’s satisfaction level has fallen 383 points to 66.7 percent, MSN Money reported.

As MSN ruefully noted, “It appears unhappy Target shoppers could be taking their business elsewhere.”

Meanwhile, the company’s fortunes continue to decline.

On Wednesday, the discount retailer reported first quarter same-store sales fell 1.3%. While that was better than analyst estimates for a 3.6% drop, it marked the fourth straight quarterly decline in the key retail measure. Walmart’s U.S. business, on the other hand, saw same-store sales gain 1.4% in the first quarter on the back of efforts to slash food prices and bolster customer service

Cowen analyst Oliver Chen stated that “Target as the retailer is likely losing share on everyday essentials, as customers turn to Amazon, Walmart, and other places.”

While insisting that things are turning around for his company, Target CEO Brian Cornell admitted, “We aren’t doing any high fives in the [board] room.”

The CEO is also finding consequences from the company’s fall. This month it was reported that the retailer slashed its CEO’s pay by at least one-third.

Cornell is not the only high-ranking officer at Target to feel the pain. As the company works to revamp itself in the face of its ongoing troubles, several top executives have been fired or have otherwise moved on from the retailer.

Other signs of the retailer’s troubles came in February when it abruptly dumped several projects aimed at revitalizing the company’s brand.

At the time, Target shuttered two high-priority projects which were intended to guarantee the company’s future just under a year after a public boycott provoked by the company’s insistence on transgender-friendly, mixed-sex dressing rooms.

The company’s stock prices have fallen steadily since the company announced its transgender bathroom policy last year. By March of this year, many investment advisers had downgraded Target to a “strong sell” even as its falling price might seem to make it an attractive buy.

Even as it was shuttering these projects, the company’s stock price hit $64.77 at market close on Feb. 8. That was down from $83 when the boycott began to when the company made its transgender policy on April 19 of last year. And the company’s stock has continued to fall, with a May 19 close of just under $56, which is slightly higher than its 52-week low of $56.44. But it is a far cry from its high of $84.14 seen last year.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at


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